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Martin Kippenberger and the pope

September 26, 2008 | 10:56 am

Pope_5 Austria Today, an online business-oriented daily, reports today that Pope Benedict XVI has condemned as blasphemous a sculpture of a crucified frog being shown in an Italian museum. A version of the work is also on view in Los Angeles, in the Museum of Contemporary Art's newly opened retrospective of Martin Kippenberger, the late German artist who made it.

The brief article in the Internet daily, which is a pay-per-view site, reports:

"In a letter written last month, Pope Benedict said that the sculpture 'injured the religious feelings of many people who see in the Cross the symbol of the love of God and of our salvation, which deserves recognition and religious devotion.'"

The museum, however, insists that the work is a self-portrait of the artist "in a state of profound crisis" and is not an attack on religion.

Curators of the Museion, a modern and contemporary art museum in Bolzano, Italy, reportedly plan to remove the work, which is on loan from an Austrian private collector.

--Christopher Knight