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On Thursday, Dec. 21, wo Catholic members of Poland's parliament attacked Maurizio Cattelan's The Ninth Hour (1999), a sculpture depicting Pope John Paul II lying on the ground after being struck by a meteorite, reports the Agence France-Presse. On view at Warsaw's National-Gallery, Cattelan's provocative work had already occasioned much negative comment when the politicians removed the meteorite from the tableau and tried to stand up the figure of the pope. The work, which takes its title from the hour of Jesus Christ's death, was featured in the Royal Academy in London's "Apocalypse: Beauty and Horror in Contemporary Art." The Warsaw exhibition is curated by Venice Biennale artistic director Harald Szeemann; Cattelan is the only non-Polish artist included. "I like the idea that someone is trying to save the Pope -- like an upside-down miracle, coming not from the heavens but from earth," Cattelan told Artnet News through a spokesperson. "In the end it is only a piece of wax." The exhibition is continuing, though the gallery containing The Ninth Hour remains closed. The Polish museum suffered a similar attack in November when the prominent Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski destroyed with a sword several of Piotr Uklanski's photographs from his exhibition "The Nazis."

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
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