- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

LOVELAND, COLO. (AP) - A Montana woman accused of taking a crowbar to an art museum display that has spurred protests and been denounced as obscene was arrested Wednesday on a charge of criminal mischief.

Kathleen Folden, 56, of Kalispell, Mont., was accused of damaging a print that critics say protrays Jesus Christ engaged in a sex act.

Witnesses said the woman entered the Loveland Museum Gallery, used a crowbar to break glass over the art and ripped the print, according to the Loveland Reporter-Herald.

Mark Michaels, an area art dealer who was at the museum, told Denver’s KUSA-TV that he saw the woman break the glass and grab the print, and that he tried to stop her.

He said that as the woman broke the case, she screamed: “How can you desecrate my Lord?”

Police spokesman Andy Hiller said the work by Stanford University professor Enrique Chagoya has a tear in the panel with the depiction of Christ. The work, titled “The Misadventures of the Romantic Cannibals,” is a 12-panel lithograph that that includes comic book characters, Mexican pornography, Mayan symbols and ethnic stereotypes.

It is part of an 82-print exhibit by 10 artists that opened in mid-September.

Chagoya told The Associated Press that he was shocked and saddened that his work was attacked.

“My intention has never been to offend anybody,” he said.

Police said the incident was the first disturbance since protesters began gathering this week outside the city-owned museum about 50 miles north of Denver. About 100 people packed the Loveland City Council meeting Tuesday night to support and oppose removing Chagoya’s work.

The council decided to leave the art in place.

Chagoya said his work, a collage using religious and pop culture symbols, is a critique of religious institutions, not beliefs.

“I critique the institutions and my disagreements with the way the church corrupts the spiritual,” he said. “People might disagree with my views, my art, but I’m not trying to offend anybody.”