Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flap about Pope Sculpture

The posting for this week is about a newly created sculpture that depicts former Pope John Paul II. The sculpture is quite modern, with very few features and a simplified form. Apparently it has caused an uproar, and the Vatican has labeled it "ugly." The full story can be read here.

To me this is a case where those who have ordered the art did not give much thought about the art. It is similar to the story of the Tilted Arc. Too often when the art is in the planing phase, those who ordered the art are not really listening to what the artist has proposed. I think this is particularly true for public art.

That said, I could go either way on this sculpture. I do not think it's great, but I also do not feel it is complete garbage. The lack of an identifiable face is not a new concept. When I was in art school, one of my fellow students never painted facial features. He stated that this allowed the viewer to define who the image depicted. Pope John Paul II was very popular, almost a people's pope. As a pope for the people I think it's appropriate to leave the face blank.

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