My latest piece over at Word on Fire concerns this weeks Met Gala, which opened the Metropolitan Museum’s latest exhibit, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” an exhibit I hope to visit next week and wrote more about.
The gala, though, certainly got a lot of attention. It always does, but with this years theme matching the exhibit, all eyes were on the attendees.
Some took offense — I didnt; I saw it as an opportunity for evangelization, and I thought overall there was nothing malicious in the presentation, although there were some misfires, mistakes and the sort of sloppy work you sometimes see when people are too lazy to do a little research. I wrote about it here:
Were some of the outfits outright failures? Yes. Kim Kardashian apparently thought applying a few crosses to her her standard body-hugging-bosom-displaying style sufficiently met the theme. It didn’t. I’m not sure what Solange was doing, at all. Jared Leto’s vague suggestion of Christ the King reminded several wags of the Beatles in India. Lana Del Ray’s designer seemed to have thought of the Seven Sorrows of Mary “Oh, hearts and swords! Edgy! Let’s do that” and created a mess.
But was intentional mockery of the Church or her beliefs actually on display?
Decide for yourself. In my opinion, had Rihanna’s costume not featured a bishop’s mitre, she could have been accused of ignoring the theme, because the only other Catholic reference about it was the staggeringly beautiful and well-done embellishments that covered her fabric. Some saw mockery of the pope. I saw an appreciation of Catholic sartorial history in keeping with the theme, and respectfully done. Had she worn fishnet stockings or one of Madonna’s old cone bras, then yes, I’d have called it mockery, and duly taken offense. She didn’t, though, and I think her mitre should be added to the secular artist’s portion of the Museum’s exhibit. It’s that beautiful.
Mostly, I took a line through Saint Paul, discourse to the Greeks, in the Areopagus was a featured reading at Wednesday’s Mass and seemed to me to aptly address much of what had people buzzing, including the question of how much power we should give to art, whether it’s good or bad.
Speaking of bad, I also remembered a truly terrible piece of Catholic kitsch from my childhood, which might amuse some! I wish I still possessed it, so I could show you just how bad it is, though it still enhanced my faith.
You can read the whole thing here.