Take a Peek at Art World Prankster Maurizio Cattelan’s Documentary
By Christie Chu
Fifteen years in the making, a new documentary about Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan is set to be released in the summer of 2015. The film takes a close look at the life and work of the art world’s favorite jokester. Director Maura Axelrod began capturing the artist on film in 2000, as his art world star power began to take force. Ten years later, he agreed to partner with her on its production.
A film crew followed Cattelan everywhere from New York to Milan to Basel, painting an intimate portrait and capturing never-before-seen footage of the artist. Cattelan, who is notoriously very private, asked more than a dozen friends and family to talk about his life and work. The result is a hilarious, often ridiculous, and endearing feature length film that provides insight into the artist’s personality and why he chooses to grapple with certain themes.
The documentary explores the art market and economies that have been built around Cattelan’s work, as well as the acclaimed Guggenheim retrospective for which he famously hung his artworks en masse from the ceiling creating a spectacle at the center of the museum’s iconic rotunda. At the opening of that show, in 2011, the artist announced his retirement from art.
Most famously known for his satirical sculptures that borrow from pop culture, history, and religion, Cattelan’s hyperrealist work is at once humorous and profound. It invites the viewer to abandon all learned heuristics.
In the documentary’s trailer, gallerist Adam Lindemann says that Cattelan is “probably one of the greatest artists we have today, but he could also be the worst. It’s got to be one or the other. It’s not going to fall in the middle.”
Decide for yourself. And in the meantime, check out the trailer.
The documentary will debut in 2015. A survey of the artist’s work will be featured in Cosa Nostra, a two-part exhibition that will open at Sotheby’s S2 November 6 and at Venus Over Manhattan on November 7.