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Collector Steven Cohen Gifts Chris Ofili's Holy Virgin Mary to MoMA

Hedge fund manager Steven Cohen is donating Holy Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The painting, which features a black Madonna against a gold background replete with images of female genitals and pieces of elephant dung, sparked an uproar when it was exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum show “Sensation” in 1999. Most of the critics of the piece were Catholic, and they were aghast over the eight-foot-tall depiction of the religious figure.

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also famously took offense at the controversial exhibition, calling it “sick stuff,” and even tried to withhold city funding from the museum until it shut down the show. In response, the museum filed a lawsuit against the mayor accusing him of violating the first amendment by campaigning to halt payments, fire the board of trustees, and evict the institution. The legal battle ended a year later, when Giuliani agreed to restore the museum’s payments...

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