This was a show with many twists and turns – works that were whimsical, satirical, scary, and intellectual all packed together. Each climbing step up the Guggenheim’s spiral led to another view, and with it a new discovery, and a new thought. This was a show best viewed from the sidelines, especially if you happen to have a fear of large objects falling on your head. I was surprised that the crowds of people down below me didn’t seem to mind.
Maurizio Cattelan is a man who has worked in many trades in his lifetime, and has held many interests. This part of him is evident in the variety of subject matter as well as the craftsmanship put into each piece. The greatest feat of all is the organization of this collection of work, and its secure placement into the center of the museum.
One thing that I became a bit miffed by was the fact that a good portion of his works were untitled. I would pick out a piece of interest, look it up on the show’s Diagram, only to find a very minimal description of it. Because I was so fascinated by the show, I decided to purchase the book of the same title in order to find out more about the artist himself as well as the work. However, I find that because there is very little effort put into the show in terms of having the audience really understand the work, it is as if there is this sort of intentional distance created. Because no title is assigned to the work, the art simply becomes about its physical appearance, and ultimately comes to represent nothing other than itself. If a great amount of work has been put into creating a functional miniature elevator or a cartoon-like life-size sculpture of a person, my thought is that there should be an obvious amount of intention behind making the work, which has certainly been misrepresented in this show.
Because it seems that whether or not the pieces had significance, the people walking around the Guggenheim that day did not seem to mind, I am content to say that in Maurizio’s case, keeping information from the viewer is not necessarily a bad thing.