My name is Gary Carrion-Murayari. I’m the Kraus Family curator at the New Museum and one of the co-curators of the exhibition, Thomas Bayrle: Playtime.
Golden Madonna is one of a number of the works in the exhibition that demonstrates Thomas Baylre’s interest in religion and the iconography of religion especially in the modern era. Thomas was fascinated by the ways in which the German public, especially during the post-war period, kind of replaced the icons of religion with icons of consumerism and technology. So instead of worshiping images of Jesus, he imagined Germans worshiping images of automobiles and other kinds of products that you could buy in the store.
Starting in the 1980s he made a number of works looking at art history, images of the Madonna and child, images of the pieta, images of the cross, and then would transform them using his own visual language. Golden Madonna relates to a number of other pieces he made during the period that also constructed the image of the Madonna from not just crosses and in this case but also from images of Mercedes, images of other kinds of vehicles and in the case of another works on the fourth floor, his pieta Madonna, the body of Jesus are depicted constructed out of iPhones. So over time Thomas is interested in the ways that society maintains religious beliefs alongside their devotion to other forms of technology and other aspects of the modern world.