by Jen Graves
on Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 5:19 PM
Maurizio Cattelan's 1999 sculpture of Pope John Paul II after having been struck by a meteorite.
In this little Reuters story from yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI says he wants the church and the contemporary art world to reconnect—and the director of the Vatican museum seconded his sentiment, calling for a "reconciliation after the great divorce."
The story also references the Vatican's modern and contemporary collection, begun in 1973, and makes it sound pretty good, including work by Kandinsky, Picasso, and Rodin.
Anybody who's been in those weird little modern-and-contemporary art rooms at the Vatican knows that's not true. Those collections are terrible, so stilted and lifeless that if art could have a taxidermy version, this would be it. (I'm sure there are works there by K, P, R, and other notables, but I sure didn't notice them in the bog of awfulness.)
So, really—what is the point of this thing? In Europe it's somewhat different, but in this country, the only thing with a worse reputation than the church (fun with child molestation!) is contemporary art (fun with bullshit!) (or journalism: fun with lies!). Maybe religion, art, and the press should join together to create a new triple-headed enemy.
But seriously: Church, if you want to get the attention of artists, do like you used to do—throw money at 'em. Then we'll get all kinds of fireworks.