The 1960 born Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan copes with his late mid-life –crisis by a Guggenheim retrospective and the alleged retirement from his artistic practise. Mr. Cattelan earned his reputation as an art-scene’s provocative joker and trickster in the mid 1990s.
Renowned collectors have always appreciated his work more, than the critics, however, this may change with his retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York: For this show ‘All’, he had made smaller models of all his works and suspended them rather disrespectfully from the ceiling of the meaning generating rotunda. The intentionally ‘bad’ way of presentation is an act of denial against Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and obviously Guggenheim as an almighty institution in the art world.
Provocative critique against all sorts of value systems always have been part of Maurizio Cattelan’s work: In 1999, he created a life-size wax figure of the Polish-born pope John Paul II, which was struck by a meteorite for a show in Catholic Poland.
Just like Andy Warhol, Mr. Cattelan also has had a background in advertising before he focused entirely on art. It is evident that his art works quickly - like a sculptural cartoon. It provides perfect products for an art fair, where you see a large number of works in a short time. I like some of his works, because they appear surreal and funny, however I don’t think they can retain one’s fascination for very long.
Maurizio Cattelan proclaimed to retire from his artistic practise after this show. In an interview, he stated that he would like to work as an assistant to mega-dealer Larry Gagosian. Most likely, both will not be true. In fact, it could be just another joke or statement of institutional critique: In 1964, Andy Warhol also proclaimed that he would retire from art in favour of his film career. Of course, he maintained the artistic practise of his factory, but the prices of his works gained in value afterwards.
I consider Mr. Cattelan's statement just another move within Nicolas Bourriaud’s logic of relational aesthetics, where the artistic practise focuses rather on the holistic social contexts of society and making / dealing with art, rather than a subjecivel perspective only.
Through 22nd January 2012