All in New York

by Peter Zullo

Astonishing Cattelan’s “ALL” exhibition at the Guggenheim in New York could be his last one

Some might call him mischievous or provocateur, some might call him irrelevant, but there is no doubt this Artist  is gifted with some brilliant and extraordinary creativity. This Artist, is Maurizio Cattelan. He is one of the most popular and highly appreciated Italian artists in the world, and the Guggenheim museum in New York dedicated its main hall to a retrospective titled “ALL”. With his works Cattelan has often revoked and upset viewers in the way of approaching Art. Entering the Guggenheim museum, one cannot ignore how the Italian artist has reinvented the space and used the spiral structure into his own needs. It is admirable and remarkable at the same time. There are more than 100 objects in the exhibit, that fall down from the ceiling and not right away exposed to the eye. This structure is quite unique as this central space of the museum is usually empty. In order to discover all 100 objects, the viewer should walk along the spiral. The revealing of new objects is brilliant with every step you take. The Guggenheim has been transformed into a new world populated by surreal characters. Not only horses, donkeys and stuffed pigeons but also suicided beavers, boys playing the drum, a doll of Hitler on his knees and in tears, JFK lying dead in a coffin, and one Cattelan’s most famous works: The Ninth Hour – A sculpture showing Pope John Paul II on the ground struck by a meteorite (the sculpture was sold at Christie’s in 2001 for the record sum of $886.000). Cattelan mentioned that the sculpture, originally conceived in the foot, did not satisfy him, and while thinking about how to destroy it, he got the idea of the meteorite. It was quite simple. He just found the way to cut over the figure of his own father. The Nineth Hour and his disrespectful attitude has attracted a criticism by some of the offended public, even though it seemed the majority tend to agree with the success of this retrospective. ALL is actually Cattelan’s last and final exhibition. Cattelan, who is in his fifties, has decided to retire and to “make room for young people”. Some may think it’s true, some may think this is just another provocation of his. In any case, time will tell.

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