Posts Tagged ‘All’

How’s it Hanging?

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

All, the Maurizio Cattelan retrospective at the Guggenheim, opened last night.*  In All, Cattelan’s sculptures, photos, and recreated performances are suspended from an impressive rigging apparatus above the rotunda.  All reminds me of Dorothy’s tornado hallucinations in The Wizard of Oz or Tom Cruise suspended in Mission Impossible.

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

More absurd would be footage of animals being rescued from floods, hoisted by helicopters and carried off and away from the disaster.  And much darker than these, one might recall the hideous images of burned, mutilated Americans hanging from a bridge in Fallujah.

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

This isn’t the only morbid  coincidence relating Maurizio Cattelan’s comic oeuvre with the real world.  Novecento/ Ballad for Trotsky, 1996, the hanging horse, could be replaced by the carriage horse that died two weeks ago in midtown, an inevitable casualty of an inhumane tourist gimmick that profits from overworking animals in inclement conditions.  Now we can zoom in on Cattelan’s Bidibidobidiboo, 1996, a.k.a. the “Squirrel Suicide,” hanging nearby.

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

And at the top of Cattelan’s super mobile are Cattelan’s upside-down NYPD officers, only feet away from a male mannequin duct-taped to a wall, and yards away from Cattelan’s iconic, supplicant Hitler, Him, 2001.  It’s a timely alignment for this tumultuous autumn, during which many Facebook walls scroll images and videos of police across the country beating Occupy protestors – most recently and notoriously the reckless Oakland cop who lobbed an explosive device directly at protestors aiding the critically injured Scott Olsen.  “Thugs!” some viewers gasp. “Nazis!”

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

Then again, that duct-taped mannequin is a recreation of A Perfect Day, 1999, for which Cattelan taped up dealer Massimo de Carlo in his Milan gallery for a day.  Given that de Carlo would be among the 1%, the piece begins to look different.  Isn’t this what we’d like to do to a Wall Street CEO?  Hanging beneath that is the blown up newspaper photo of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Mori, who was murdered by  the Red Brigades in 1978.  Here, Cattelan has scribbled over the photo, converting the Communist emblem star over Mori’s head into a shooting Star of Bethlehem.  Cattelan seems to address violent disorder from all sides of power relations; Left and Right, Above and Below.  Just ask his mannequin of Pope John Paul in La Nona Ora, toppled by a stray (or carefully aimed) meteorite (Straight Outta Bethlehem?).  Cattelan’s multilateral criticism is often lightened by humor, yet it’s poignant when pointed.  Perhaps this democratic awareness is behind the title of his retrospective.

Maurizio Cattelan at his Guggenheim Opening

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

"Come at me, bro!"

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

Maurizio Cattelan: "All" at the Guggenheim

*Thank you, Cindy, for the invitation!