You gotta give it to millionaire art trickster Maurizio Cattelan. With a single neo-Duchampian gesture, he's given us a brand new way to look at art while strolling up and down Frank Lloyd Wright's celebrated spiral ramp. His new retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, "Maurizio Cattelan: All," dangles 130 works by ropes in the museum atrium, and puts not a single thing on the walls. With no labels (though a guide is provided) and no stutter-step pauses in front of each bay, the viewing experience becomes more seamless, unified and open.
The show is "a duet between art and architecture," noted museum director Richard Armstrong at the press preview, reminding his listeners of the museum's previous experiments in this vein, such as the 2005 installation by Daniel Buren. Exhibition curator Nancy Spector called Cattelan the "tragic poet of our time," and after running through a slide show of the artist's works, ventured that the exhibition was both a "culmination and a lamentation," and "a metaphor for the uncertainty that we're facing."
"Maurizio Cattelan: All," Nov. 4, 2011-Jan. 22, 2012, at the Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10128.