Exhibition closes January 22, 2012
1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street
Admission: $18; students $15
Eschewing the typical retrospective of key works arranged in a clear and timelined fashion, the artist and troublemaker, Maurizio Cattelan, instead wanted to approach his life’s work as a collage of sorts. The current exhibition at the Guggenheim aptly titled, Maurizio Cattelan: All, is a collection of work he has done since 1989–sculptures, works on paper, photographs and prints–that wisely uses the interior open space of the museum, hanging the pieces from the ceiling in an intricate weave. Creating a massive beautiful piece on its own, the way the pieces are arranged, like puppets in a grand show, makes for a dramatic scene and emphasizes the variety and yet interconnected thread of subversion that occurs throughout his various pieces.
Walking up or down the ramp inside the Guggenheim to observe Cattelan’s creations, each work reveals itself at every turn and becomes framed differently depending on where one is standing. The realism the artist establishes in his works, whether by stuffing actual animals like horses or pigeons or dogs or creating life-like replicas of well-known historical figures like John F. Kennedy and Adolf Hitler, is at first jarring and yet, upon inspection, possesses an intentional statement the artist is trying to make, which is sometimes serious and other times funny. The sculpture of Hitler kneeling called Him (2001), one realizes, is a creation of the dictator but in the body of a child. In the piece, Now (2004), John F. Kennedy’s body lays in state in a coffin, in a suit, yet he is barefoot. There is a refrigerator suspended within the exhibit (Betsy, 2002) and inside is not food, but a woman crouched and hiding. And so many more pieces, all placed together with care, create a harmony that both lends itself to the architecture of the space inhabits as well as highlights the overall unique nature of Cattelan’s work.
Image: Installation view: Maurizio Cattelan: All, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, November 4, 2011 – January 22, 2012 Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation