Nothing is sacred to Maurizio Cattelan, the art world’s resident jokester who has been variously amusing and horrifying viewers since the early 1990s. For his 2012 retrospective at the Guggenheim, “All,” Cattelan hung the full range of his iconoclastic sculptures from the center of the museum’s sanctified rotunda—including waxworks of a miniature Hitler, Pope John Paul II struck down by lightning, JFK in a coffin, and the artist himself hung by his neck, accompanied by several of his trademark taxidermies, including an ostrich burying its head, a squirrel who’s just committed suicide, and Novecento, the dangling horse that is perhaps his most career-defining work. “My aim is to be as open and as incomprehensible as possible,” he says. “There has to be a perfect balance between open and shut.” A prolific curator and writer outside of his artistic practice, Cattelan is seen by many as one of Duchamp’s greatest contemporary heirs, enacting morbidly humorous transformations on objects and history alike.
Italian, b. 1960, Padua, Italy, based in New York, New York