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May 18, 2001
9:29 AM   Subscribe

'Pope hit by meteor' sculpture sets a contemporary art record at Christie's and sells for $886,000. The artist says, "I like to think of La Nona Ora as a sculpture that doesn't exist, a three-dimensional image that dissolves into pure communication blah, blah, blah... " Has anyone noticed we all live in Bizzaro World.
posted by quirked (28 comments total)

 
That kicks ass.

Way better than the "Jesus gets run over by a bus" sculpture I have.
posted by bondcliff at 9:37 AM on May 18, 2001


Can't find a link, but the "stir" this caused in Poland was quite a story. The director of the museum was hounded out of her job, and all kinds of anti-Semitism surfaced, of the "go back to Israel, ya damn Jew, this is a Catholic country" type. It was ugly.

Bizarro World was a cube, though, so this isn't it.
posted by rodii at 9:38 AM on May 18, 2001


? <- missing question mark from my post above.
posted by quirked at 9:41 AM on May 18, 2001


That would look fantastic in my satanic breakfast nook.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:46 AM on May 18, 2001


You mean this satanic breakfast nook? Or some other one? ;)
posted by louie at 10:00 AM on May 18, 2001


Hey, that's my house!
posted by starvingartist at 10:02 AM on May 18, 2001


Since I was out-bid on the Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture the other day, maybe I'll have a chance with this one.....
posted by briank at 10:02 AM on May 18, 2001


Hey quirked, why'd you "blah blah blah" the artist's statement on the piece? I'm curious - did you think it was blather? Self-serving? Stupid?
posted by hijinx at 10:04 AM on May 18, 2001


I love the story about the people at the exhibit who moved the meteor off the pope and tried to prop him into a standing position.
posted by straight at 10:18 AM on May 18, 2001


why is it that pro-religious statements are hounded out of town by people chanting "separation of church and state! separation of church and state!" and anti-religious statements are considered "high art" and "protected under free speech"?
posted by fuzzygeek at 10:25 AM on May 18, 2001


well, let's see fuzzygeek.

First, the only time pro-religious statements are "hounded" by the church/state separation crowd is when they're made by the STATE. This artist is not a government representative (nor even American). I don't see any reference in the Constitution to "Separation of Church and Your Average Joe".

Second, while they're not usually high art, anti-religious statements ARE protected under free speech.

what part of that are you having trouble with?
posted by jpoulos at 10:34 AM on May 18, 2001


fuzzygeek, you're comparing apples and oranges.

Show me some pieces of good art that are also religious. Show me any religious art that's good, and it has equal chance of being "high-art." The sistene chapel springs to mind.

I like this piece, it's funny, and low on the "worldwide-offense-o-meter" and don't really see what all the fuss is about.

I'll also freely admit that anyone producing art these days can "go to the well" and guarantee massive publicity if they add one tiny bit of religious blasphemy to their works. But isn't that what real art is supposed to do? Not just look nice, but make you think? Make you consider why people hold religious symbols so dear, why replacing any symbol with a religious symbol instantly gets a rise out of people?

Boring art sucks.
posted by mathowie at 10:35 AM on May 18, 2001


Um... they're only hounded out of town with chanting when they involve separation of church and state. A pro-religious statement by itself is fine. John Ashcroft holding Bible study in his office is not, to a lot of people. And anyway, it's kind of hard to promote the jointure of church and state with an anti-religious statement. The two don't really go together.

Oh, and not every anti-religious statement is considered "high art". I don't think the Baby Jesus buttplug in the $50 contest thread is considered high art.
posted by starvingartist at 10:35 AM on May 18, 2001


Fuzzygeek hasn't been to New York lately.

What gets me is I can't decide how you came to that conclusion, either a function of where you are or what you believe in. Probably both.
posted by skallas at 10:36 AM on May 18, 2001


Since the work of art deals with the period of Revelations and the destruction foretold in the Bible, I consider this a pro-religious statement, fuzzy. Or are you saying that because it's in the Bible, the Bible is anti-religious? I would like to more know of your reasoning.

Incidentally, once again, this work of art depicting Catholic religious imagery was created ... by a Catholic. Just like the African dung artist who (also) made a Virgin Mary, or the nude self-photography artist who (also) put herself in the Last Supper. Don't be so quick to judge what is "anti" religious.
posted by dhartung at 10:45 AM on May 18, 2001


The sculpture was purchased by an undisclosed bidder Thursday.

undisclosed, the Vatican?
posted by tomplus2 at 10:50 AM on May 18, 2001


the Vatican?

Hey, if I was the Pope, I might be tempted to buy a sculpture of myself being crushed by a meteor myself. it's kinda like when David Gerrold auctioned off the right to be killed in one of his novels. But that's just me.
posted by kindall at 11:09 AM on May 18, 2001


It would make a great gag gift for the Pope's next birthday.
posted by rodii at 11:09 AM on May 18, 2001


quirked's blah blah blah above removes my favorite part of the artist's statement: "On the other hand, La Nona Ora would simply be a bad joke taken too seriously, an exercise in absurdity."

It's nice to see an artist that doesn't take himself too seriously.
posted by swell at 11:13 AM on May 18, 2001


It's nice to see an artist that doesn't take himself too seriously.

It's nice to see an artist who knows how to cover his ass by saying "I was just joking." Maybe he should have put a smiley on the meteor :-).

At least he didn't try to convince us that it's really meant as a tribute to the pope.
posted by straight at 11:21 AM on May 18, 2001


heh, thought i'd cancelled that post. call it a function of not getting any decent sleep in about a month.

(how odd. my wife just IM'ed me "are trolls inherently evil?")

my stance is somewhat fueled by that controvery a while back where some artist was making statements by soaking crucifixes in urine, etc etc etc; this under the national endowment for the arts, which is a federally funded programme.

i doubt one could fund a fresco in a church in the modern united states with monies from said foundation. reference the controversy over school vouchers.

the "sentence" (although more a collection of words put together seemingly forming a coherent thought, but really actually not) above that resulted in a number of well reasoned (for the most part) replies was a meandering half thought based on my own hazy recollection of media coverage (which we all know is inherently suspect) and therefore probably invalid and completely off base.

so, if you bothered responding specifically to me, my apologies for wasting your time.

What gets me is I can't decide how you came to that conclusion, either a function of where you are or what you believe in. Probably both.

you'll be comforted, i'm sure, to know that i really don't care what you decide.
posted by fuzzygeek at 12:09 PM on May 18, 2001


Show me some pieces of good art that are also religious. Show me any religious art that's good, and it has equal chance of being "high-art." The sistene chapel springs to mind.

this is trecherous ground as it involves a judgement call as to what is "good" and what is "not good."

i've had discussions with people who thought the sistene chapel should whitewash its ceiling to cover up the old paint. i've spoken with others who really wanted to fill eggs with oilpaint and lob them at the ceiling. they thought it'd be a great "artistic statement and performance art piece about modern attitudes (specifically theirs) towards religion." they bought eggs and a camcorder and everything -- even a tripod.

there are plenty of people in the "art world" who dismiss off-the-bat anything with a "positive" religious theme as being backward and parochial and systemic of a male oppression-dominated theology of oppression. (try reading art theory books. it's hilarious. but then, some people take it very seriously).

i think the first post irked me a little -- the bit about jesus being run over by a bus. irreverance is all well and good, and i'm glad it's covered by first ammendment rights, but is there a point at which it can go too far?

take hate speech for example. if i were to set up a couple pieces of lumber in the middle of any given university's quad, nail them together in a certain configuration, douse the works in gas and set it on fire, i'm sure i could be prosecuted for one thing or another (pollution vis a vie burning gasoline comes to mind, heh. worse than an suv, i am).

perhaps put a bit more succinctly (my own religious inclinations notwithstanding -- i'm about as apostate as it's possible to be): if minorities are protected from "hate speech", why aren't religions?

why should group X or group Y be protected from "hate speech" at all?

i had a few friends who were violent feminists that threw tantrums whenever anyone used the phrase "huMAN race." gender specific language constitutes hate speech to some factions in society. do we bother trying to censor the language to appease them as well?

oh well. i'm rambling. feel free to ignore me. hell, i do.
posted by fuzzygeek at 12:24 PM on May 18, 2001


there are plenty of people in the "art world" who dismiss off-the-bat anything with a "positive" religious theme as being backward and parochial and systemic of a male oppression-dominated theology of oppression. (try reading art theory books. it's hilarious. but then, some people take it very seriously).

That's by and large why "modern art" is so irrelevant and is usually filled with this kind of hucksterism. Dada drove a stake through High Art's heart, and Warhol tried to lop off High Art's head. Now it's this zombie, and you're either a necrophiliac or you're trying to get attention by pissing on the zombie.

That's my metaphor, and I'm sticking to it.

Granted, the Pope hit by a rock is kinda funny. But this, along with the other "shocking" attempts to rile Christians, are merely just childish reactions to what I would wager was a pretty love-deprived upbringing in a "Christian" household.

Plus, it's just soooooo easy to get a rise out of Christians who are sensitive to any affront against their religion. I'd like to see one of these trust-fund SoHo babies try and antagonize Islam. They can ask Salman Rushdie what happens when you fuck with Allah, and Salman wasn't even trying to get a reaction.

I wish these people would grow up and just go away. Damn art fags.
posted by solistrato at 1:29 PM on May 18, 2001


Related: Andres Serrano, creator of Piss Christ, gives a little insight into his work. In Australia, it was deemed blasphemous. Where are the lines to be drawn?

Somewhat less related: I got to see Serrano speak about his work, in one of my college classes (arts school, ahhh). He certainly doesn't admit to doing this strictly to offend, and I believed and understood his motivation.
posted by hijinx at 1:34 PM on May 18, 2001


re art fags go away....my daddy said the same thing to me about fags....i wish they would just ship them all to a big island somewhere. and i said....but they have daddy...it's called manhatten! poor daddy was so politically incorrect. but he finally came around when i introduced him to my 220 pound black gay auto mechanic lover. daddy got free service for the rest of his life! viva la art! viva la difference!
posted by billybob at 1:58 PM on May 18, 2001


I think this is a funny statue. And art can be funny.
However, I think this piece isn't really art, but rather a divine prophesy of the future.
posted by Doug at 3:01 PM on May 18, 2001


Damnit, solis, your post was brilliant right up to the last sentence. Then, not so much.

Granted, the Pope hit by a rock is kinda funny.

A better word is absurd. Entertaining the possibility of the Pope being killed by a natural event, which, as an emissary of an entity whom is supposedly in control of nature is ironically absurd. Irony is entertaining, just ask the McSweeney’s kids.

I think this is a funny statue. And art can be funny.

Yea, totally. If art isn’t entertaining, it’s ineffective. “That’s My Bush” has a totally ineffective message: sitcoms a vapid. Well, duh. That’s all ya got?
posted by capt.crackpipe at 5:18 PM on May 18, 2001


At least it wasn't a *realistic* depiction of a meteor that size slamming into the Pope at 23,000 miles per hour. THAT would have riled some people up real good. This is more like "Pope trips on a loose shoelace, falls over, and somebody places a rock on him" rather than "Pope is hit by a meteor." Am I weird for thinking of that, and that alone, when I first saw that sculpture? :-)
posted by Spirit_VW at 1:02 PM on May 20, 2001


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