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(Posted this for giveaway on Craigslist. An Internet journalist for The Daily Dot contacted me, with pure integrity in their soul, apparently looking for a “story.” After spending days following standard internet journalist vetting protocol, they figured out that the black trucker Jesus I was giving away as a religious artifact to the world was not actually featured in the highly respected exhibition halls of the MoMa and Harry Ransom Center. Quick and intuitive, to say the least. Not to mention the tumescent desire to acquire their content from the doldrums of the Craigslist General For Sale section. A further contribution to developing an informed public by exploiting a sad fiction. At least I’m self-consciously parodic. Jesus saves many, but unfortunately can’t save journalism)

 

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My Post:

The best black Jesus set in all of Texas. Exhibited at the MOMA as well as at the UT Harry Ransom Center. Invaluable, but… gotta girl I’m working, a white girl, and she ain’t having the art. Says she’ll toss it where it belongs. Not if you take it first!!! That’s why I’m asking virtually nothing for it. We have to keep our communal art alive so our childrens can know. What we be going through and all that. Jesus Saves.

Their Response:

Hello,

I live in Austin and came across your listing for your art set. It’s a great set, and I’m curious if you’d like to discuss the set and your situation in more detail.

I’m a reporter for The Daily Dot, and would like to feature your listing on our site. I could just send you a few questions, and you can provide as much or as little information as you’d like. Ideally, the feature could help you sell the set, and for more than what you’re asking!

Let me know if you’re interested. You can also contact me at 254-855-1990.

Thanks,
Jené Gutierrez

My Response:

Jene,

I am interested. Email me back an we can discuss the details. A very
interesting story lies behind the pieces. The trucker Black Jesus has
no prints, remaining the only one on the planet like it. Cheers.

Their Response:

Rick,

Great to hear!

I am interested in the story behind each piece, if you bought them together, where you found them etc. Anything you find of personal interest, or you’d think the public would be interested in.
Do you know when they were featured at MoMA or the HRC? How do you know that the trucker one is the only available print in the world? How rare are the others? Have you had them appraised?
Can you further explain why you’re getting rid of them? Your ad indicates a woman you’re interested in doesn’t like them – how serious is it? Do you know why she doesn’t like them? Did you try to convince her of their value?
Why are you willing to get rid of them for virtually nothing?

I realize I just kind of bombarded you with these questions. I understand if some of the line of questioning is too personal. Feel free to take your time!

Thanks in advance for your willingness to share your story.

Jené

My Response:

Jene,

To start with:

They were purchased separately. My grandmother began collecting them
years ago and actually placed the trucker Black Jesus in my room as a
child. I grew up with an appreciation of this genre of art, although
she believed deeply that Jesus was black. My grandfather drove rigs
and died while delivering crates of bibles to a church very close to
the Twin Towers. Grandmother had faith that Jesus was with him and
ushered him into heaven. She passed away soon after and left the
Trucker Jesus to me in her will. I was informed, and still believe,
that it is the only one in existence because she had it commissioned
with a certificate of authenticity included. She claimed that the
artist was very old at the time of the commission and was hesitant to
paint it. I feel confident that nobody has since commissioned a velvet
Black Trucker Jesus painting.

I was contacted by the Harry Ransom Center in 2004, which found out
about the collection from a professor in the Art Department with whom
I was in a bowling league with. They wanted to purchase the
collection, and despite the money offered, I couldn’t part with them.
The trucker was especially meaningful because of its sentimental value
as well as it being one-of-a-kind. I agreed to let them exhibit them
instead. They were actually placed next to their permanent exhibit of
the Gutenberg Bible during the exhibition. Imagine that!

I am getting rid of them because of love, as fluffy as that might
sound. Her father was a trucker, a white one, and she thinks it’s
disrespectful to have a work of art depicting a black Jesus who
divinely watches over the trucking community. I have told her that the
painting is invaluable, to which she responded that she agrees. “It’s
worthless,” she claims. She believes the painting is cursed and should
be destroyed as not to ruin the lives of those in possession of it. I
caught her trying to pull it out of its original hand-carved ornate
frame in order to burn it, I assume. She wanted to keep the frame to
place an original Detroit 1978 Ted Nugent concert poster inside of it.
She says it was the first concert her parents ever took her to. I love
the woman, but I think she has a misdirected position on what
qualifies as art. I am willing to give them up for so cheap because
Christ would not have wanted to be exploited by capitalism. I am not a
religious profiteer. I felt that I must place some price on the post
to allow it to reach more people (I must admit that I have very little
experience with Craigslist). I was told by a friend that somehow this
price would be more appropriate than giving it away for free. But it
is essentially free, like Jesus would have wanted it. I’d most likely
frame the dollar to remind me of what I had to give up for love.

Regards,

Rick Cabrera

Their Response:

Rick,

Wow, that truly is an incredible story.

Are you saying that your grandfather died as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11?

What’s the name of the professor in the Fine Arts department who you knew through the bowling league? Do you have the dates of the HRC exhibit, or the name of the exhibit that the HRC included your pieces in? If not, no worries, I actually work on campus, and have contacts at the HRC who could locate this information for me if needed. Do you mind disclosing to me the amount that the HRC offered you?

Would you be opposed to possibly meeting and showing me the set at some point?

Thanks,
Jené

My Response:

Jene

The exhibition included pieces on urban spaces and multiculturalism.
The center thought that the transport industry was an example of this,
and, if I remember correctly, the “compression” (that’s what they kept
saying: it means nothing to me) of space through modern
transportation, or of the urban church as a meeting place for racially
diverse communities. Honestly, it all sounds like art critic
mumbo-jumbo to me. I felt like they were unknowingly being a little
racist and insensitive. White people have a tendency to do that. Think
they are being progressive but actually end up really being
patronizing. The primary painting was just something my Christ-loving
grandmother left to me. I was a little disappointed with how they
turned it into some bizarre art-speak and expected me to understand
what they were getting at. I just didn’t want to sell it to them, but
they made me feel obligated to provide the art with a place to be
seen. Spread the word of Jesus. My life revolves around his love. I
kinda wish the professor didn’t say anything to them. He was a nice
guy but I feel he intruded a little bit and put me on the spot. His
name was Cruz and he moved to Brazil or Florida or something because
he wasn’t offered a long-term job there. I clearly remember him being
angry about that. Something about some committee rejecting him. I
don’t know. It’s all ivory-tower stuff to me. Didn’t really know him
well. He came over for beers only a few times but was fascinated with
the art. Ill see if any of the guys from the league have his email or
phone number or something. As for meeting, that would be tough. How
could I explain to my girl that I’m meeting someone about an interview
on the art she despises? She doesn’t even know I’m selling it. She
thinks I’m trashing it. The only reason I can talk to you is because I
know she won’t read your website. And yes, Grandad was a victim of
the attacks. God be with him.

Regards,

Rick Cabrera

Their Response:

Rick,

I’ll reach out to my HRC contacts to find out more details. Do you recall the time period that they were exhibited?

If you can’t meet, then how about a short phone interview? Also, if I’m interested in buying the pieces, how would I get them from you?

Jene

My Response:

Jene,

Good. They would know more than I can remember. I was consumed by a sad divorce at the time, with a woman who wanted to take more than I could give. But Jesus helped me through it. I unsuccessfully tried to find some old correspondence and I think it might have been 2004 or 2005. Something about spaces, like I said before. Most were photographs, so I thought including mine was quite strange, but they had their reasons, I guess. I should have kept up with the details of all that, because it would have likely made the paintings more valuable for some, making them willing to pay at least a dollar for them. I haven’t had any serious offers, meaning people that I believe respect the art enough that would make me willing to give it to them. Given my history with the work and it’s sentimental value for me, I’m sure you can understand why I’d like it to go to someone who deserves it, rather than someone who wants to make a joke out of it or see it through the sad eyes of irony. It has meaning. Personal and public I believe and I appreciate your interest in it. I hope your story will help it get the attention it deserves, as well as possibly spread the word of Jesus in these troubled times.

Regards,

Rick Cabrera

My Response Response:

Jene,

I have a few potential takers, as they have impressed me somewhat
with their connection to the work. I hope the article is going well.
Can’t wait to read it. God bless.

Regards,

Rick Cabrera

Their Response:

Rick,

This is your site, correct?

https://ilovetherexreport.com/

Jene

My Response:

Are you talking about this site???

https://ilovetherexreport.com/2015/05/08/black-jesus-saves-journalism/

On Fri, May 8, 2015 at 10:57 PM, Jené Gutierrez

Future Correspondence:

TBD

4 thoughts on “Black Jesus Saves Journalism

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