Controversy Surrounds Bizarre Nude Portrait of Tom Cruise Linked to Scientology

Tom Cruise. Photo: EPA/Frank Robichon.

Tom Cruise’s 25th year in the Church of Scientology will include a massive 14-foot shroud of the (apparently well-endowed) actor in the buff.

The “Pop-Up Church of Scientology” will take place in a showroom near the organization’s headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. There will also be a series of Cruise-related commemorative silver medals created for the occasion, which will be available for purchase through St. Petersburg-based gallery Cory Allen Contemporary Art (CACA).

The shroud, which in a press release is likened to the famed Shroud of Turin, is the work of sculptor Daniel Edwards, who is known for depicting celebrities in unconventional and unflattering ways. His oeuvre includes a sculpture of the disembodied head of baseball player Ted Williams, a life-sized statue of Britney Spears giving birth, and a sculpture of a dead Paris Hilton, wearing a tiara and still clutching a cell phone.

In 2009, the artist created a bronze sculpture of Cruise’s daughter’s first bowel movement for his show at Capla Kesting Fine Art in Brooklyn.

A spokesperson for the Church of Scientology denies having any involvement in the spectacle, telling Page Six it is a “publicity stunt and any claim to the contrary is false.” Edwards’s artist page proclaims that the sculptor “includes the idea of promotion and associative fame in his own marketing of his art.”

The Shroud of Scientology.

Daniel Edwards, The Shroud of Scientology.

“It’s an acknowledgement to [Cruise’s] 25-year commitment to Scientology,” Edwards, who claims no affiliation with the religion, told Page Six about the work. “He hasn’t been able to stay committed to three different marriages so for him to be committed to something so deeply it must be pretty important.”

Edwards will not revealed who commissioned him to make the shroud and medallions.

Unsurprisingly, what people on the Internet are most concerned about seems to be the sculpture’s impressively-sized genitalia.

“Enormous bulge aside, we’re guessing the shroud’s junk isn’t an exact likeness (sorry, Tom!),” Brett Malec writes in E! Online.

But Edwards has his subject’s back, stating: “I felt that he’s being depicted proportionately and I’m not sure what to make of it.”

Pop-up Church of Scientology” featuring the Shroud of Scientology will open to the public at Cory Allen Contemporary Art’s The Showroom, in St. Petersburg, Florida beginning on August 8, 2015.

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