The Vatican Gets Into Contemporary Art

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Here’s a strange one. In order to keep the insides as interesting as the outsides of their beautifully designed churches, created by starchitects like Renzo Piano and Richard Meier, Art Info is reporting that the Vatican has announced plans to commission contemporary art work by famous artists to hang in their fanciest of churches:

The Pontifical Council for Culture will inaugurate the campaign by commissioning a number of new religious and spiritual works, which are to be shown at next year’s Venice Biennale. This will be the first time the Vatican attends the Biennale, having once dismissed it as a “debacle” that displayed “the breakdown of art in modern times.” An anonymous U.K.-based benefactor has already been found to sponsor the project.

But while the Vatican cozies up to contemporary art, we learn that the Catholics are simultaneously embroiled in a battle with the Cooper Union and their current student exhibit which features a piece called “The Day I Became a Catholic,” which features “a man with a crucifix in place of his genitals.” The Catholic League wants it taken down and Cooper Union is saying absolutely not. Whatever winds up happening, we’re guessing that that particular piece is probably not going to make the cut to be hung up in Meier’s Jubilee Church.