With Shows on Two Continents and a Film in the Works, Maurizio Cattelan Is Having a Moment
By Mark Guiducci
This season’s post-war and contemporary art sales might be over here in New York, but “Cosa Nostra,” as Sotheby’s S/2 and Venus Over Manhattan are calling their joint Maurizio Cattelan exhibition, is still very much on view. Divided between the auction house’s York Avenue headquarters and **Adam Lindemann’**s Madison Avenue gallery, the show is by some accounts the largest grouping of the Italian satirist’s works ever in one place (except, of course, for his epic Guggenheim retrospective in 2011, which he himself actually considered to be a single, new, and independent work).
“Either you love it or you hate it,” is how Sotheby’s Jackie Wachter sums up the typical approach to Cattelan’s oeuvre. His conceptual works are famously divisive for the provocative ideas they illustrate: an elevator less than a foot tall; life-sized sculptures of policemen literally turned on their heads; a colossal statue of a hand (reminiscent of that of Constantine in the Capitoline) that gives the viewer the middle finger; the pope struck by a perhaps not so errant meteor. “There is such an emphasis on things that are pretty in the market right now . . . ”—her own company just successfully sold through Bunny Mellon’s collection, for example—“ . . . and it’s refreshing to delve into the work of one artist that is not aesthetically easy.” While the white limousine hired to ferry people between the two viewing locations earlier this month is no longer in service, the shows will both be on view until November 26 (Sotheby’s) and January 10 (Venus Over Manhattan).
Across the Atlantic, the Maurizio moment continues with an exhibition called—what else?—“Shit and Die.” Cattelan, who has officially retired from art-making, curated the show with Myriam Ben Salah and Marta Papini on the occasion of Turin’s Artissima art fair, including selections by Carlo Mollino, George Condo,and Francesco Vezzoli. Each of the contributions is almost as incendiary as Cattelan’s own work, if not quite, and its accompanying Tumblr is worth a look, even if getting to the northern Italian port city’s Palazzo Cavour before January 11 is not on the agenda.
Looking further afield, fans should prepare themselves for Maurizio Cattelan: The Movie, which from the looks of its trailer (which features _Vogue’_s own Dodie Kazanjian) promises to be a rollicking romp through Cattelan’s career of doing precisely what people are told they shouldn’t. While waiting for the documentary, which has an ambiguous release date of summer 2015, Cattelan acolytes can further occupy themselves with the “Cosa Nostra” catalogue, which comes replete with stickers of each work for sale. Vogue.com’s own Beau Samtook Cattelan out for an autumn stroll across Manhattan: