Sculptor and installation artist Maurizio Cattelan (Italian, b.1960) has garnered a reputation for being a humorist on the Contemporary Art scene. In a post-Duchamp attitude, and often with macabre humor, Cattelan caricatures both the art world and common social values. His wax sculpture of Pope John Paul II hit by a meteorite, titled La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), is one of his most widely known pieces. Cattelan is a self-taught artist, and his works typically incorporate satiric and performative elements; in 2000, Cattelan persuaded his gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin to spend a month dressed as a giant pink phallus, and, in 2001, Cattelan created a sculpture of Hitler, kneeling down on the floor as a childlike, innocent figure praying for salvation. Among Cattelan’s most provocative works is an installation he created in Milan for the Trussardi Foundation, which depicts children hanging from a tree in a public park with ropes wrapped around their necks. The installation is a commentary on violence, as well as a reflection on the role of the artist, whom Cattelan portrays as the ringmaster of a circus, in which cruelty and entertainment meet and overlap.
Most recently, Cattelan has taken on the role of curator; he helps run the Wrong Gallery in New York, and curated the Berlin Biennale in 2006. He also produces Charley, a satirical arts journal, and Permanent Food, which includes images stolen from other magazines; in addition, Cattelan writes for international publications such as Flash Art. Cattelan has shown his work internationally through his participation in exhibitions at the Skulptur Projekte in Münster, the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne; he has also participated in the Venice Biennale several times. Cattelan was a finalist for the Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss prize in 2000, and, in 2004, he was awarded the Arnold-Bode Prize.
Cattelan currently lives and works in New York and Milan.