I’ve Got Opinions (Here Are A Few)

It’s a curious sensation when you realize that you have become permanently linked with certain topics in the minds of other people.

Not infrequently, I get pinged regarding stories making their way around the interwebz, by readers who automatically associate me with the subject matter of the reporting – Renaissance altarpieces, Catalan cuisine, the planet Krypton, etc. There’s an expectation that I’ll have an opinion worth sharing on the story, whatever it may be. It’s incredibly humbling that you want to know what that opinion is, gentle reader, when far better writers than I do not get nearly as much support: so thank you for your continued patronage.

Here comes a brief potpourri of links and opinions for you to have a think about today. As it happens, all of the following stories are courtesy of readers who asked me about these subjects, or tagged me in posts about them. So as you can see, I really am paying attention, most of the time.

– There’s no news yet on any results from the exhumation and paternity test conducted on the remains of the late Salvador Dalí, which took place last week. News reports indicate that when his coffin was opened, the artist’s legendary mustache was found to still be intact and in place, nearly two decades after his death. Tests are currently being carried out by forensic pathologists in Madrid. I’m withholding judgment until the scientists and courts reach a conclusion, but you can guess my opinion about this whole thing given what I wrote previously.

– A fire in Normandy destroyed 182 objects and an entire wing of the Tatihou Island Maritime Museum (“Musée maritime de l’île Tatihou”, pictured below) – including three paintings on loan from The Louvre. The blaze was most likely sparked by two lighting strikes during intense summer storms. Estimates put the value of the lost works at somewhere north of $1.3 million. However institutions like that of the Maritime Museum on Tatihou and their holdings carry far greater worth than their intrinsic value would suggest, since these objects tell the preserved history of their communities. If you have such collections in your area, please go support them – they need your assistance to survive and thrive for future generations.

– Meanwhile in the Las Vegas ‘burbs, a hideous structure called Holy Spirit Catholic Church will soon be open so that everyone can come in and play “Tabernacle Hide-and-Seek”, that favorite Spirit of Vatican II game. About the only thing that’s marginally interesting about this church are its tapestries, from the same artist who designed the tapestries for the Taj Mahoney, a.k.a. the monstrosity known as the Cathedral of Los Angeles. (I’ve not made up my mind about his work yet: are they good, or are they just kitsch?) On the whole, the interior looks like a day spa in space as imagined by Roger Vadim, where one could have a seaweed wrap while listening to some Zen Buddhist chant piped through the sound system. But who am I to judge.

[N.B. Interestingly, another new parish named for St. Anthony of Padua opened in suburban Las Vegas last year, and while I can’t say that I love it, exactly, at least it looks like a Catholic church, and one that takes reverence for both the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass seriously.]

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16 thoughts on “I’ve Got Opinions (Here Are A Few)

  1. As for the tapestries in the Taj Mahoney, in the parade of Saints, I could not find St. Benedict, patron of Europe and father of Western Monasticism. Perhaps someone else has. Thought that was an interesting commission (if indeed it is true).

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  2. Your remarks about the Taj Mahoney led me down an internet trail, and I came upon this https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/09/they-are-expelling-jesus-from-churches.html?m=1
    which you have surely seen. The author’s remarks–and yours–brought to mind the recently refurbished Cathedral of St. John the Baptist of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, where I live. The re-do was so controversial that for some time it was brought to a halt by an appeal to the Vatican. The 19th century altar was modernized, and a new modern sculpture is suspended over the congregation,. The result is best described by a child who was sitting behind me at a special mass. He asked: “Why is Jesus holding a wishbone?” ( He was referring to what must be a representation of the Holy Spirit.)
    I am thankful that the result is nothing so stunning as those to which you refer in your blog, but it is sad when the history of old churches is deemed erasable.

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  3. Oh my! I know the designer of the artwork featured in the Holy Spirit Church, and am very familiar with Artesanos Don Bosco (not a “company” but a Catholic mission). If you ever find yourself in Baltimore, go visit their US shop, which sells furnishings and religious artwork made by their Peruvian students.

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      • I was actually referring to the artist who designed the front door, image of Mary, and the Chapel. Mirko is a very good and dedicated man, unfortunately his work is not to my taste.

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  4. The Holy Spirit Church in Vegas is clearly inspired by Star Trek TNG-era design. I somehow get the sense that the transporter and the warp core of the Enterprise-D are basically combined to form the tabernacle in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. Blue center+twisted helix of doves=beam me up!

    Tough to say whether the tapestries are kitsch or not. There is something deeper and striking going on in a few. I think the “Mary of Pentacost” and the “Annointing of David” might prove to be powerful in person. On the other hand, the tongues of fire at pentacost tapestry seems garish to me, and The Holy Spirit as Lady Sophia looks like a re-rendering of Arwen holding Athelas from Lord of The Rings. In other words, hits and misses perhaps.

    Good grab-bag of things to opine about!

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