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11.5.06

Maurizio Cattelan

Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled, 1993 (self-portrait)I haven't posted anything about shock artist Maurizio Cattelan (b. 1960 in Milan) since this little article in May 2004. This was around the time that Cattelan created an installation at an outdoor site in Milan, which depicted three childlike dummies hanging from nooses in a tree. Cattelan's name came up again in an article (Maurizio Cattelan, bouffon pour riches, May 3) by Harry Bellet in Le Monde (my translation and links added):

A Milanese court has just condemned a man named Franco de Benedetto to two months in prison. In May 2004, he had rescued from hanging one of three children, in wax, that the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan had installed in a public park of the Piazzo XXIV Maggio in Milan. Only one, because the brave man lost his balance trying to help the other two, and crashed downward several meters, hurting himself enough to end up in the hospital.

The hanged children are only one of the numerous uses of the image of childhood used by Cattelan, one of the best known and most expensive artists of his generation, whose works hold an important place in the collection of François Pinault. Among the works presented by the businessman in his Venetian museum since April 29 is a child sculpture. The cherub, kneeling in prayer, turns out to have the sad face of Adolf Hitler, who was also -- who would have believed it? -- a little boy. The French collector also owns another Cattelan child, this one a robot, that spends its time running into passersby, usually art lovers, while perched on a remote-controlled tricycle. It's a sort of self-portrait of the artist. Cattelan is a big kid left unsupervised in the immense playground that is the art world.
He once exhibited a medical excuse to stay home from work. In Bologna he showed a sticky note that read, "Back soon." He broke into the Bloom Gallery in Amsterdam, took out everything in the office, including the furniture, and reassembled it as an art installation. He has also tortured his gallery representatives, taping one of them to a gallery wall for a day and making another wear an outrageous bunny costume that was phallic in shape. A reporter (not yet 100% sure who it was) from the New York Times, no less, interviewed a man she thought was Maurizio Cattelan and published a large exclusive article before realizing that she had actually interviewed someone else (probably Cattelan's partner in crime, Massimiliano Gioni).

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