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Art Attacker Pleads Not Guilty in Colorado

Kathleen Folden of Kalispell, Montana being lead out of the Loveland Museum/Gallery last week. (image via The Denver Post)

The Montana truck driver accused of destroying a controversial art work that featured the image of Jesus at the Loveland Museum/Gallery in Loveland, Colorado has pleaded not guilty to charges against her Friday morning.

According to news reports on 9news.com and the Denver Post website, Kathleen Folden pleaded not guilty to the charge of criminal mischief, a class-four felony. She waived her right to a preliminary hearing and is scheduled for a three-day trial in January. If convicted, she could face two to six years in prison.

According to the Coloradoan, “Folden wore a black T-shirt to court that read ‘Jesus beat the devil with a big wooden stick.’”

The Denver Post is also reporting that Enrique Chagoya, the Stanford University professor whose work was destroyed is “reportedly going to create a portrait of Jesus Christ for Loveland’s Resurrection Christian Fellowship as a conciliatory gesture.”

Image of the damaged art work (image via Loveland Museum Facebook Page)

The Loveland Reporter-Herald has the full story:

Enrique Chagoya, the artist in the center of a Loveland storm over a display of his work, is talking with the senior pastor of one of the region’s largest Christian congregations about producing a religious painting for the church.

And, if the congregation at Resurrection Fellowship on Crossroads Boulevard in Loveland agrees, Chagoya has said he will produce a religious portrait, perhaps depicting Christ, as a gift to the church … Jonathan Wiggins, senior pastor at Resurrection, initiated the discussion with Chagoya after he was confronted by a member of his congregation, he said in an Oct. 5 e-mail message to the artist.

When asked, Chagoya explained the meaning of the Christ image in the piece to the pastor via email:

Viewers of the image at the center of the controversy “may see a corrupted religious icon, but it is not the icon itself. It is not Christ. It is my way of saying that something precious got corrupted,” Chagoya wrote.

Screenshot of one thread on the Loveland Museum/Gallery’s Facebook page from October 15.

The attack has also turned the Loveland Museum/Gallery’s Facebook page into a bit of a battleground. Some Loveland Museum critics are resorting to intensely racist and homophobic language in their criticism of the Museum’s decision to show the work. One commenter has posted a YouTube video on the page, which is captioned on YouTube with the following:

Kathleen Folden vs Sodomite Enrique Chagoya at the Sodomite Loveland Museum. Kathleen Folden wins by a knockout. Sodomite Enrique Chagoya and his blasphemous work of anti-Christian ‘art’ are ko’d.

Last week, Adam Lerner, the executive director of the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, paid a visit to the Loveland Museum and spoke with the institution’s curator. He told the Denver Post that the same exhibition had been on display for five months at Lerner’s museum, with 25,000 visitors seeing the show, and there were no complaints.

In what can only be interpreted as a good sign for the future for art in Loveland, the Loveland Reporter-Herald conducted an online poll that asks visitors:

In light of the controversy over Enrique Chagoya’s “The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals,” do you think stricter guidelines should be set regarding exhibition of potentially obscene or profane works at the Loveland Museum/Gallery, and who should set those limits?

As of today, the vote indicates that a majority of the 678 votes are in favor of no new regulation (57.6%).

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