The State of the Art of the Church

Trong Nguye, Collage of Ninth Hour and Black Hole, 2009.

I for one, am extremely excited by the Vatican’s participation in the upcoming Venice Biennale, as Ben Street mentions in Yes We (Vati) Can! After watching Rick Warren deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration, I am reminded of the burning picket fence separating church, state, and art, perhaps something to be contended with more thoroughly in the next Flash Points feature, Art + Politics.

A slave to good ‘ol fashioned controversy, here is an inkling of what I hope to see by way of the Holy See come the year of hugs and kisses, e.g. OX:

  • Damien Hirst’s crucified, bi-sected Christ and Virgin Mary in formaldehyde
  • Maurizio Cattelan’s pope and meteorite (The Ninth Hour, 1999) swallowed up by a black hole created by the Hadron collider
  • Kara Walker (Season 2) silhouettes of confessional indiscretions
  • It’s Venice, so all Vatican reps should be walking on water if possible—a show within a show.  If the Chinese can do it…

But, with all levity aside, this is the most interesting addition to an exhibition of this magnitude in a long, long time. I might also expect the Vatican to next take out a booth at Art Basel Miami and sell off some of those ungodly works currently in the permanent collection.

It’s almost compelling as Rudy Giuliani curating the next Whitney Biennial (as yet unconfirmed from a very unreliable source).

Change comes to art too… Happy Inauguration Day!


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