Art: Venice v. the Vatican

Casting a disapproving eye on the vast roundup of contemporary art at the Venice Biennale (TIME, June 28), the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano last week pronounced the whole show an "artistic debacle." Wrote the Vatican critic: "This is a demonstration of the breakdown of art in modern times. It is so bad that a mere wooden bowl becomes, in this exhibition, a piece of sculpture, while entanglements of wires are considered statues." But what riled the Vatican most were the few paintings dealing with sacred subjects, one of which showed Christ as a skeleton. "It is sad," the article concluded, "that...

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