A controversial sculpture of Pope Benedict XVI wearing nothing but a blond bob wig, a stole, panties, thigh-high stockings – and a lascivious ‘come hither, my son’ expression – has been pulled from a gay exhibition in Milan.
Curator Eugenio Viola told Associated Press: “It was made clear to us that it would be better to remove the piece.”
“It is a vulgar offence against Christ’s Vicar and the feelings of the Roman Catholics,” a spokesman said.
The Pope piece, entitled “Miss Kitty,” was created by Paolo Schmidlin.
You can read the full report here.
The last artistic portrayal of a pope to create shockwaves among the faithful was Maurizio Cattelan’s effigy of Pope John Paul II in full ceremonial dress laid low by a meteor.
La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour) – one of Cattelan’s most famous artworks – was created in 1999. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London as part of the prestigious Apocalypse show, and was sold at Christie’s for $3 million.
Cattelan has been described by Jonathan P Binstock, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art “as one of the great post-Duchampian artists – and a smartass, too’.
Why Catholics should be offended by the Pope portrayed in drag is a bit of a mystery, as popes traditionally embody high camp. As the caption to a picture of Benny da Pope on the excellent ‘Betty Bowers – America’s best Christian’ site points out:
This man (on the left wearing a fabulous vintage chiffon-lined Dior gold lame gown over a silk Vera Wang empire waist tulle cocktail dress, accessorized with a 3-foot beaded peaked House of Whoville hat, and the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the Wizard of Oz) is worried that The Da Vinci Code might make the Roman Catholic Church look foolish.’
Incidentally, if you ever feel the urge to look like a pope, visit this site which specialises in priestly drag. The blurb for the pope costume reads:
Ever want to look like the head of the Catholic Church? Here’s your chance! Includes: Long white under robe with gold buttons, lame & faux brocade & gold trim, detachable clerical collar, lame capelet, waist sash, and matching mitre hat. Available in adult one size: fits up to 6 feet / 200 pounds. (Cross NOT included.)