There’s an Italian artist – Maurizio Cattelan – who has a tremendous exhibition on at the Guggenheim. Cattelan’s a sculptor whose work is a sort of crazy mix of Madame Tussauds meets Mad Magazine. I’d first come across one of his pieces a few years ago at The Gagosian. It featured a hyper-real sculpture of the pope in full Papal vestments, lying on his side, hands clutching his ferula (that’s Papal cross to you non-ecumenically inclined readers), with a large boulder on him. Around this fallen figure were shards of shattered glass. The piece was called, “Pope John Paul 11 hit by a meteorite.”
Here was the high priest of infallability, smote by a heavenly rock. Totally disrespectful, shocking, irreverent, hysterical.
The exhibition at the Guggenheim features his entire (almost) ouvre hanging from the ceiling, like so many pieces of washing. Amongst the pieces – an elephant covered with a white cloth, only the eyes and trunk peeping through – think elephant in the room; a half-scale, diminutive Hitler, kneeling, praying. This is a guy who once invited the art establishment of Truin to a showing…which consisted of a rope of knotted bedsheets dangling from an open window.
You walk slowly up the corkscrew path of the gallery, marvelling at the inventiveness, the wit and trenchant social, political and artistic commentary of this prankster.
Great way to spend a cold Sunday morning


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