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 Maurizio Cattelan  (1960 - )

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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: mixed-media metaphorical objects-humor and satire

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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A self-taught artist assertive of 'bad aesthetic taste', Maurizio Cattelan creates work underpinned by humor with "slight shifts of reality" and a teasing of the art world "without ever falling into the naive trap of thinking he can subvert a system of which he is part."  For instance, at his urging, Emmanuel Perrotin, his gallery representative in Paris, dressed for a month as a gigantic pink phallus.

Cattelan was born in Padua, Italy and works from a studio in Milan.  In 1998, coinciding with a Jackson Pollock exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Cattelan, with the Museum's permission, hired an actor to greet visitors in a Picasso look-alike mask.  The underlying idea was to create a Walt-Disney type character, which many visitors assumed was a 'pretend' Pollock.

Another 'spoof', one which characteristically walked a fine line between vulgar and humor, was a 1999 London gallery exhibition where the main feature was a black marble slab that was a copy of Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC.  However, instead of the names of people who had lost their lives, it was a "neatly engraved" listing of scores of all the defeats suffered by the national football team of England.

In fact, the Vietnam War and football are recurring themes.  In his paintings, he features his own football team, "A.C. Forniture Sud", which in English translation is A.C. Furniture Supplies.


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