Saturday, February 07, 2004
Norbert H. Kox
February 8, 2004
Your help is needed, and will be greatly appreciated. Please offer your input to counteract the witch hunt that has been launched against me because of my Apocalyptic Art.
Here is a recent article that enraged a fanatical priest to slander me. He is the same cult leader who stirred a controversy over my Neville Museum exhibit in 1999. That time the controversy raged for 3 1/2 months.
Following the "Spiritual Journey" article, is the hate article by this same priest who stirred the previous controversy over my solo show in Green Bay in 1999. Also I have included my statement for my upcoming Washington DC show.
My good name has been gravely maligned and slandered by Father Hector Bolduc in his vicious hate letter "This isn't art" (The Green Bay New-Chronicle, Monday, February 2, 2004; Page 13, Opinion).
After you have read the articles on this page, please respond by sending your opinion to Ray Barrington for publication in the Opinion column of The Green Bay News-Chronicle. Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Address your comment to Ray Barrington, Opinion page, in reply to Father Hector Bolduc letter, Monday, February 2, 2004. Thank you. Your input is appreciated.
The Green Bay News-Chronicle, This Week, January 11-17, 2004, pp.1,2,4 (pictures not shown)(See one picture here)Spiritual JourneyGreen BayAcclaimed artist Norbert Kox challenges mainstream beliefsBy Brenda EricksonNews-Chronicle
Norbert Kox would have to live well past the ripe old age of 200 if he were to paint everything he’d like.The acclaimed New Franken artist has dozens of folders he counted a while back, and there were well over 100 strewn throughout his house, each stuffed with bits of paper he pulls out of his shirt pocket whenever an idea springs to mind.And Kox, who has long caused some stirs with his vivid apocalyptic art, is not an artist short on ideas.“I can’t keep up,” he said. “The ideas keep coming to me. I can never get ahead of it.”He keeps track of his visions through a trick he learned from a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay professor back in the l980s, which was to sketch his thoughts as they came rather than letting them evaporate by waiting until he had a spare moment to jot them down.
“I always kept paper in my pocket, and the more I did that, the more ideas would come, almost like exercise, where your muscles get stronger,” said Kox.
A painter since the early 1960s, the former biker has long dedicated his work to his spiritual journey. The spiritual imagery of fire and brimstone, serpents and false idols dominate Kox’s intricate work as he explores ideas, challenges tradition and takes on the ideology of mainstream religion with humor, wisdom and bold brush strokes that are his own visual parables of the apocalypse.He hopes his work, which has earned international acclaim and has been shown in galleries and museums from New York to Australia, helps generate ideas and inspire viewers to begin their own spiritual exploration.
“The main thing is I hope that people will somehow try to think for themselves,” he said. “I want to get people stirred up enough to do some questioning, arid not to be led like blind sheep.”
His efforts have often sparked controversy; earning letters of protest on newspaper editorial pages and causing loud vocal stirs at gallery exhibitions.“When it first started up, it was hurtful,” said Kox. “I wondered how could a person so misunderstand what I was saying.”But then, in his soothing voice, Kox would explain his motives and his ideas about the imagery that makes up much of mainstream religion.And people calmed down.
“I’ve been able to walk up to people and calmly start talking to them, and as I would begin to explain, all of a sudden their whole composure would change, once the interpretation was started for them,” he said.
His latest project for a show at a gallery in Washington D.C. — is a series of works based on the 1940 Warner Sallman painting “Head of Christ,” a billion-selling image that has become almost universally known as the likeness of Jesus.Sallman said it came to him in a heavenly vision, but according to Kox’s research, the artist actually plagiarized the image from an 1892 work by French artist Leon Lhermitte featuring Christ at the supper table with two of his disciples. Sallman’s painting is nearly an exact replica of Lhermitte’s Jesus, although no credit was ever given to the French artist.Either way, the image is a false idol in Kox’s eyes, and he gloriously takes it on in the series “Picture Perfect Jesus: The Glamorous Fraud,” featuring the “Head of Christ” in numerous incarnations, including one as “Sallmanstein” — “I made the top of his head flatter, and there are bolts sticking out of his neck,” Kox said — and a fish head that plays on the Artist’s name.
(Please see KOX, Page 4. KOX: Local artist sparks controversy and international praise, FROM PAGE 2)
The pieces— many large-scale works that are painted while flat— had their first showing at an informal exhibition in Bimini, a tropical island where Kox has spent a great deal of time since he discovered it in 1999. It is there, in the sparsely populated, sun-drenched setting that he creates many of his works, drinking in the atmosphere for spiritual rejuvenation.Since the “Head of Christ” image — which has sold more than 1 billion copies worldwide— graced the walls of several of the island’s churches, he was a bit hesitant, but he went ahead with the show anyway.
“There was a stress level there,” said the artist, who once had to calm a viewer so offended and upset he was screaming. “But as soon as I started to explain it, they caught right on.” So have art critics around the world, who’ve praised Kox’s symbolic, metaphoric work, calling him “one of America’s most important visionary artists.” It’s high praise, indeed, especially for an artist who’s managed to have his work banned by nearly ever major religious group, but Kox isn’t influenced by the opinions of others, and the art that lives inside him will continue to pour out, flooding his canvases with life.It’s always been that way.
“When I started painting I was just doing surrealist painting of ideas coming out of my head,” Kox said.“At that time I didn’t realize there was a spiritual message for me, but when I look back on it, I see subtle communications. It was exciting to discover how that worked.”Kox’s first medium of choice was oil, but a stint at UWGB introduced him to acrylics, which have a faster drying time and helped speed up the artistic process for Kox.Now, he usually merges the two mediums, using oils for some of the more detailed part of his work.In addition, he has dabbled in photography, has written numerous essays addressing religious, issues, is working on a book, "Deceived by Jesus,” which will be part memoir, part expose, and uses his auto body repair background to create welded works such as sculptures and frames that expand his paintings beyond natural borders.
Lately, he’s been working with his son, Jeremy, in a business they call Raw Earth Visionaries, teaming up to create large-scale landscape sculpture including an elaborate sun dial that was on display as part of the Neville Public Museum’s recent Art Annual.
“It’s been a real wonderful experience for both of us,” said Kox, who has no plans to let the controversies he’s stirred over the years influence his work.
“There’s still no compromise,” he said.
For an artist, how could there be?
The Green Bay New-Chronicle, Monday, February 2, 2004
Page 13, Opinion
This isn’t art
It appears the Neville Museum, funded with taxpayers’ money, has not learned its lesson. Once more it has consented to displaying “art” by one Norbert Kox, a confirmed hater of Christianity and Catholicism. His display at the Neville in 1999 scandalized the community by its vile attacks on Christianity and in particular against Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Catholic sacramentals.
The recent article in This Week indicates that Kox is troubled by the thought that an artist named Sallman may have plagiarized the painting of the head of Christ from another artist. Perhaps Kox should consider the fact that he himself should be accused of plagiarism as he called his 1999 exhibit “To Hell and Back,” which any artist should know is the name of a famous Audie Murphy book and movie. Then Kox states that he had “bolts sticking out of his (Christ’s) neck.” Could that have been plagiarized from another famous movie called “Frankenstein?” After all, Kox does live in New Franken. Coincidence?
For local museums and news papers to promote the works of a well-known anti-Catholic bigot shows their lack of concern for their public, if the same works were directed in the same manner against blacks, Jews or Indians, they would be labeled hate crimes and withdrawn from public view. But because they attack Christianity; they are excused as art.
In its 1999 release, the Neville lists the following among Kox’s qualifications as an artist:
“A young man involved in drugs and alcohol, a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang and a transformed, reformed hermit.” We all know what drugs and alcohol can do to one’s mind and brain. Mental institutions are filled with such unfortunates. Kox’s art is proof of his unfortunate surrender to the lower animal instincts.
I do not doubt his claim of
going through hell. However, I don’t think he ever returned. His Satanic-dominated “art” is proof that the devil himself was his mentor. Taxpayers of Brown County aren’t you concerned that your tax dollars are being used to fund a museum which insults you? Let the local officials know?
Fr. Hector L Bolduc
Please send your opinion on this subject to Ray Barrington for publication in the Opinion column of The Green Bay News-Chronicle. Email your comments to email@example.com.
Address your comment to Ray Barrington, Opinion page, in reply to Father Hector Bolduc letter, Monday, February 2, 2004. Thank you. Your input is appreciated.
Norbert Kox Responds to Vicious and Libelous Attack in Priest’s Hate Letter
My response to The Green Bay New-Chronicle, Monday, February 2, 2004, Page 13, Opinion, This isn’t art, by Father Hector Bolduc.
Please allow me to address some of the issues presented by Father Bolduc:
"It appears the Neville Museum, funded with taxpayers’ money, has not learned its lesson. Once more it has consented to displaying 'art' by one Norbert Kox, a confirmed hater of Christianity and Catholicism."
"For local museums and news papers to promote the works of a well-known anti-Catholic bigot shows their lack of concern for their public, if the same works were directed in the same manner against blacks, Jews or Indians, they would be labeled hate crimes and withdrawn from public view. But because they attack Christianity; they are excused as art."
I love all people of all religions and nationalities. My work is pro Christ, and is against all Satanic activity. In my Apocalyptic artwork, my stand against the false traditions and idolatries of modern organized religion and society, is as obvious as a skull and crossbones on a poison bottle, warning all who see to beware. My Apocalyptic work is against the counterfeit universal Christ of the modern world. It is not against Christianity. I am a follower of Christ and his teachings (since 1975). I refer to him Yesu (yay-soo) according to the Biblical Languages [confirmed in many of today's languages of the world]. I am a Christian, a follower of Christ and his teachings (but not by the name Jesus, and not through organized religion).
The art that Father Bolduc refers to, in the Neville's recent 59th Art Annual, was not my Apocalyptic work. It was a sundial titled, "Stand of the Typha." Typha means cattail. It is a site-specific landscape sculpture, created by my son, Jeremy and me. This collaborative sculpture is not controversial.
"In its 1999 release, the Neville lists the following among Kox’s qualifications as an artist: 'A young man involved in drugs and alcohol, a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang and a transformed, reformed hermit.' We all know what drugs and alcohol can do to one’s mind and brain. Mental institutions are filled with such unfortunates. Kox’s art is proof of his unfortunate surrender to the lower animal instincts. I do not doubt his claim of going through hell. However, I don’t think he ever returned. His Satanic-dominated ‘art’ is proof that the devil himself was his mentor. Taxpayers of Brown County aren’t you concerned that your tax dollars are being used to fund a museum which insults you? Let the local officials know?"
He infers that I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. Almost 30 years ago (1975) with the help of God I repented and totally reformed. Since that time I have lived in total surrender to God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. My time is spent studying and researching the things of God. My Biblical, religious and historical studies have uncovered many false traditions within the beliefs of our society. My artworks tend to expose falsehoods and reveal truths. If the falsehoods are sacred, not everyone is happy to see them publicized.
If all of Father Bolduc's accusations were true, they would not be valid reasons for dismissal of my artwork. In fact they would be “qualifications” that would place me along side of many of the great artists of Modern and past History.
"The recent article in This Week indicates that Kox is troubled by the thought that an artist named Sallman may have plagiarized the painting of the head of Christ from another artist. Perhaps Kox should consider the fact that he himself should be accused of plagiarism as he called his 1999 exhibit 'To Hell and Back,' which any artist should know is the name of a famous Audie Murphy book and movie. Then Kox states that he had 'bolts sticking out of his (Christ’s) neck.' Could that have been plagiarized from another famous movie called 'Frankenstein?' "
The title, To Hell and Back was the decision of the museum staff. It was not plagiarized. Plagiarism means to present and take credit for another's work as your own. Sallman claimed the Head of Christ as his original work, when it was not. When I appropriate someone's work, and incorporate elements of it into my own, I never claim that I am the originator of the other artist's work. It is usually something so recognizable that no one would ever think I was claiming authorship, like the bolts in Frankenstein's neck. I used them on the Sallman head, to show what a monster has been created with this false image. It became a worshipped idol, in essence, a false god.
The artist’s statement for my upcoming show at America Oh Yes Gallery in Washington, DC, should clear things up:
Norbert H. Kox
Norbert Kox loves God with his whole heart and follows the teachings of Christ. The ridicule of Warner Sallman’s Head of Christ (focused upon in this exhibit) is not a derision of the Saviour, but an expose of a false image.
Picture Perfect Jesus: The Glamorous Fraud
March 1, 2004, through June 30, 2004
The intention of my artwork is to cause people to think, to research and investigate, rather than accept the blind traditions of men. The ultimate goal is to entice people to search the Scriptures on their own. The usual focus of my work is to target specific errors and idolatries of Humanity, revealing their fallacies through Scriptural references. I also try to point out areas of interest that need further investigation, in hopes that someone will be able to carry it to the next level.
I have appropriated the Warner Sallman Head of Christ (1940) for the purpose of exposing it as a plagiarized fraud and not the Divine Image it is claimed to be.
Scripture warns against a false Christ image that becomes a living icon, and an object of worship (Revelation 13:14-15). Satan’s plan is to be worshipped as God and Saviour (Isaiah 14:13-14; II Thessalonians 2:3-4; II Corinthians 11:14).
The Warner Sallman Head of Christ has become the accepted authentic portrait of Christ, having been reproduced over a billion times since 1940.
Sallman was a shrewd advertising marketer. He had a ploy to mass-market his art to the world. He found a painting of Christ that would be the perfect image to glamorize and sell to the world. It was the creation of French artist, Leon Lhermitte (lare-meet). The painting titled Emmaus, also known as Friend of the Humble, is a backlit Christ at a supper table (1892).
Being a graphic artist, Sallman was skilled in copy work. He simply copied the bust of Christ from Lhermitte’s oil painting, transforming it into a charcoal drawing which he titled Son of Man. He never told anyone that he copied the image. There would have been no shame in copying (graphic artists do it all the time) if he had credited the original artist. But what glory is there in a copied image? Yet, if the drawing were original, received in a Divine Vision from God, it would be considered spectacular. So Sallman concocted an awesome story of a vision of light and an apparition of the Head of Christ.
By claiming the image as his own, Warner Sallman became a plagiarist, something he never admitted to.
The Son of Man charcoal drawing was first published in black and white on a magazine cover. Later it was mass-produced as a sepia print and sold to the people of America. In 1940, Sallman painted a full-color oil of his Son of Man, and renamed it Head of Christ. His colors, shading, highlighting, lay of the hair, folds of the robe, all matching the Lhermitte painting perfectly. The only difference, Sallman, being familiar with the glamour photographs of Hollywood movie stars, added the same type of backdrop to his Head of Christ. The result was the “Picture Perfect Jesus”.
Accompanied with the story of its Divine origin, Sallman’s Head of Christ met with mass-approval. Over 4,000,000 prints were sold in the first two years. By 1985 more than 500,000,000 copies had been sold. Today, 2004, the Head of Christ has been reproduced well over a billion times, and is the universally recognized portrait of Christ. This idol came with the stamp of authenticity. Who could doubt that this was the face of Christ when it came from God in a heavenly vision? Many revere it as a picture of God. It is the God and Saviour prayed to by the majority of the world’s Christian population. It has been warned against throughout Scripture. It is all part of Satan’s plan to rob glory from Yahweh.
See my works at Apocalypse House.