Guggenheim Museum: Maurizio Cattelan Exhibition

Maurizio Cattelan’s Guggenheim Museum exhibition was rightly criticized by Roberta Smith in her recent review in the New York Times.  His retrospective is purposely a jumble, as more than 120 pieces dangle above from the rafters.

And as the artworld’s jester, this seems appropriate.

Yet, the work is just not possible to view.  Frustratingly, we are completely caught in seeing the work only as objects and not experiencing them, and this is both disarming and importantly strips the power and meaning from the pieces.

For example, because we can only look at Betsy, the women disturbingly seated in a stainless steel refrigerator, and can not walk around it, we are unable to fully experience and stand next to the figure, which is true of many pieces.

As a result many works seen to be strung in an inert, null world where we cannot ever enter.  For example, Charlie, the motorized tricycle peddled by a Cattelan-like child, was disturbing when it oddly crossed the gallery floor when I saw it in Los Angeles; here is was reduced to being just a bike with child.

This exhibition is hardly a sum of its parts, and is in fact a frustrating example a concept lacking meaning.

  1. Oh, I agree that this show at the Gugg left me not feeling great about Maurizio Cattelan’s show and hardly thought about it since I saw it.

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