Art News, Artists, Music and more!

Maurizio Cattelan Chosen To Represent Vatican At Venice Biennale

The Catholic Church has enlisted controversial artist Maurizio Cattelan to represent Vatican City at the upcoming Venice Biennale.

On March 11, Vatican authorities officially confirmed that Cattelan would be representing the state at the Venice Biennale. They also revealed further details, including that Cattelan would be designing the outdoor pavilion which would include works by 8 artists. The more interesting fact is that the pavilion would be installed in Giudecca Women’s Prison and incorporate works created by the female inmates.

The selection of Maurizio Cattelan came as a surprise for many, particularly due to the provocative nature of his works and the conservative nature of the Catholic Church. Some of his most controversial works include sculptures of a kneeling Hitler, and that of Pope John Paul II lying sideways on the floor. The latter, titled The Ninth Hour (La Nona Ora), is arguably his most celebrated work and was featured at the 2001 Venice Biennale. Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, the culture and education minister of the Vatican, seemed to have similar misgivings about Cattelan, calling the project “unexpected” – but also admitted that it was in line with the teachings of the Gospels and the Pope’s calls for empathy for the imprisoned.

For the modern audience, Maurizio Cattelan is perhaps best known for his infamous work Comedian. The work, which first appeared at Art Basel Miami in 2019, was a banana stuck to the wall with duct tape. It ended up selling for $120,000 – leading to a widespread debate around what qualifies as ‘art’. Another edition of the same work was on display in Seoul, South Korea when it was accidentally eaten by a Korean college student.