The "Vado Retro'' art exhibition in Milan, which was intended to celebrate homosexuality in art, has been shut down due to complaints about a blasphemous sculpture of the Pope in drag entitled 'Miss Kitty' (shown at left). The exhibition at the Palazzo della Ragione was modified several times, including removing the offending drag pope, but the mayor Letizia Moratti ultimately wanted 14 pieces removed, and the show was cancelled, proving yet again that it's impossible to negotiate with authoritarians.
Of course people who try to stifle art are tragic buffoons- whether they're upset about doodles of Muhammad or Plexiglas Popes in panties- and Letizia Moratti deserves whatever ridicule he receives. But there's also something tragic about the sculpture to me: I've seen a number of pictures of it, and as far as I can tell, it's masterfully executed, and so you have to wonder how many hours the artist, Paolo Schmidlin, spent to create the artistic equivalent of a fart joke. On the scale of wit, priests in drag is somewhere beneath talking babies, but above dogs in people clothes; it's just sort of dumb. And yes, I get that the Pope is a homophobe who dresses like a drag queen- the fact that Robin Williams did a routine about that conceit back in the 80s should give you some idea of how comically sophisticated it is. How long before somebody decides it's awfully clever to exhibit one of those singing rubber bass toys in a gallery?