Pope Francis made news last week when he became the first pontiff ever to wash a woman's feet, as part of the Catholic Church's ritual Holy Thursday celebration. Perhaps this gesture will qualify him for (or maybe spare him) German artist Miriam Jonas's play dough treatment. Jonas has created a series she calls "Polka Popes"- miniature sculptures of fictitious pontiffs, crafted out of the colorful kid's modeling clay and displayed inside empty fish tin cans. Jonas's work reads, first, as a playful critique of the pomp that surrounds the papacy. It is undeniably lowering to be recreated in play dough, but at the same time, there is a touch of affectionate reverence in the figures Jonas has made.
H/T Design Taxi
Images courtesy of Miriam Jonas.
Update 4/5: Jonas popes are made from a number of different types of modeling clay, not specifically the Play-Doh brand. The original version of this post also said that her sculptures were based on historical popes. In fact, the popes Jonas depicts are entirely fictitious.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.