Sunday, December 11, 2011

Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim

I've always been a firm advocate of the premise that it's perfectly natural that not all artwork appeals to all people ~but~ if you spend some time with the piece and leave yourself open, you will probably end up finding something about it that will interest you.  Such was the case when I went to see the Maurizio Cattelan exhibit at the Guggenheim.  Having seen some absolutely stunning shows in the past at this museum, such as Nam June Paik and Cai Guo-Qiang, I have to admit that at first glance I was pretty underwhelmed by the Cattelan instillation.  But that didn't last for long.
Was it the nature of the work?  No.  Was it the presentation? - which I know is integral to the whole point of this instillation - I don't know.  Even as I go back to re-evaluate this artwork and all it's individual pieces, I find myself mentally re-walking the maze that is the Guggenheim and re-weaving all those provocotive images and ideas together that is Maurizo Cattelan.  Over a month later and I'm still thinking about the exhibit.  Art that stays with you.  Makes you think, and is not just a mass marketed, vapid image.  Imagine that.
The bio on Cattelan is a colorful one and if you are interested in his work I suggest you research him further.   Below is a quote from the show description, and at the end of the blog article you can view a YouTube clip of how the instillation all came together (which is just as interesting from a technical standpoint as it is enchanting).  Enjoy!

"Hailed simultaneoully as a provocaueur, prankster, and tragic poet of our times, Maurizio Cattelan
(b. 1960, Padua, Italy) has created some of the most unforgettable images in recent contemporary art.  His source materials range widely, from popular culture, history and organized religion to a meditation on the self that is at once humorous and profound.  Working in a vein that can be described as hyperrealist, Cattelan creates unsettling veristic sculptures that reveal contradictions at the core of society.  While bold and irreverent, his work is also deadly serious in it's scathing critique of authority and the abuse of power."





This was probably one of my favorite pieces (below).  Designed as a war memorial, it lists European
Soccer Match scores.



 
Another poignant piece - the child sitting at his desk in school looks transfixed looking at the praying hands in front of him, while there are pencils driven through his own hands and into the desk top, forcing him to stay in his seat.






 

The show runs through January 22, 2012 at the Guggenheim in New York.  Unless you are a member, as is true with all New York museums, be smart and purchase your tickets online in advance.  It will save you a lot of time and grief.  There are long lines - people waiting to see this exhibit!

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