(CNN) – “All artwork is made to generate conversation,” said Niki Johnson, the artist.
The portrait in question is titled ‘Eggs Benedict’ and is woven together with 17-thousand latex condoms. “The piece, investigates the role of world leaders and their responsibility to public health,” said Johnson.
Johnson finished the work in 2013. Her inspiration, remarks made by then Pope Benedict XVI, insisting the use of contraception in Africa would increase the spread of HIV. “Now, I understand the pope piece was specific, it is, it was made in an act of protest,” said Johnson.
The artwork garnered attention for its medium which Johnson could then focus on her message about safe sex, self-love, and personal and public responsibility.
The portrait is now owned by the Milwaukee Art Museum. Brady Roberts, the museum curator, said “This is an artist who has a point of view and not everyone is going to embrace that point of view.’
Milwaukee’s Archbishop Jerome Listecki criticized the museum in a recent blog post, writing: “Some may want me to be more upset at the museum for their callousness – calling for boycotts, suppression of donations or picketing. God, religion and faith have been insulted by others throughout the ages and by autocrats and movements far superior to our little local museum.”
Roberts said, “The artists have been very clear this is not an attack on the Catholic Church. This is about aids.”
‘Eggs benedict’ will go on display beginning in November.
“This is our role, is to stimulate dialogue. And it’s also our role to collect contemporary art,” said Roberts.