Maclean’s magazine charts the Vatican’s wary rapprochement with contemporary artists that began in the middle of the last decade but remains fraught with misunderstanding on both sides:
In 2009, the often-reactionary Pope Benedict XVI issued a message to pontifical academies, speaking of “the urgent need for a renewed dialogue between aesthetics and ethics.” Most recently, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Vatican’s Pontiﬁcal Council for Culture, lamented that while new churches continue to be built by respected architects, “inside these churches, there isn’t a dialogue with contemporary artists. There is only folk art.” […]
Not all Vatican officials will extend the embrace. In 2007, German artist Gerhard Richter was denounced by Cardinal Joachim Meisner after unveiling his stained-glass window in the Cologne Cathedral. It consisted of coloured squares whose placement was randomly generated by a computer—a nod to the apparent chaos of God’s work. “It belongs in a mosque,” the cardinal scoffed.
Jesus Is My Art Patron (Maclean’s)