Maurizio Cattelan: All

The title (All) of the retrospective of Maurizio Cattelan at Guggenheim succinctly sums up the intent and the content of this Italian jester artist’s allegedly last art show (Cattelan announced with his usual bravado that he will no longer make art after this career survey).  Everything that he has ever made has been hung on a round steel truss in the high rotunda of Guggenheim, leaving the Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous spiral ramps empty for the spectator to admire the work.  I am not a great admirer of his work in general with a few exceptions (La Nona Ora (The ninth hour, 1999), his notorious sculpture of Pope John Paul II felled by a meteorite, , and Him (2001), a rendering of Adolf Hitler in the scale of a young boy, kneeling preposterously in a pose of supplication, comes to mind.), the joke often falls flat in one dimensionality.  But no matter what you think about Cattelan’s work, the exhibition was one of the best use of the architectural space of Guggenheim, where it can be difficult to show art (especially paintings).  And Cattelan’s work in sum adds more than its parts to create pretty compelling visual impact.

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