Provocative Argentine artist Leon Ferrari was 92
In this April 27, 2001 photo, Argentine artist Leon Ferrari waves in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ferrari died on July 25, 2013 in Buenos Aires, according to his family foundation. He was 92. (AP Photo/Raul Ferrari, Telam)
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Leon Ferrari, a conceptual artist and rights activist who clashed with Pope Francis when he led Argentina's church and relished provoking dictators, bishops and a world at war, has died at age 92.
Ferrari was buried Friday in his native Buenos Aires, where he created a vast array of artwork during a prolific career.
His most memorable piece may be "Western Civilization and Christianity," a Christ figure crucified on the wings of a U.S. jet fighter he made during the Vietnam War. Later, his collages mixed images of Adolph Hitler and Argentina's military junta with sacred icons of the Roman Catholic Church.
This June 2012 photo released by the Malba Museum shows works by Argentine artist Leon Ferrari at his last exhibit at this museum named “Brailles y relecturas de la Biblia” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Ferrari died on July 25, 2013 in Buenos Aires, according to his family foundation. He was 92. (AP Photo/Malba Museum)
Ferrari happened to die only hours before Francis invoked one of his more memorable phrases during his current tour of Brazil: Speaking to thousands of Argentines in Rio de Janeiro's central cathedral on Thursday, the pope exhorted the youth not to "put faith in a blender." He repeated this metaphor several times, saying faith shouldn't be mixed nor weakened, but taken whole.
Years before he became Pope Francis, Buenos Aires archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio called Ferrari a blasphemer for displaying statues of the Virgin Mary in a blender, little saints in baby bottles, and Christ figures in a toaster. Ferrari's idea for the 2004 exhibition, mounted next to the historic Recoleta church, was to criticize how he believes religion is force-fed to the masses.