Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Image: La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour)
1. Cattelan makes art that often uses taboo subjects which people react as a one-liner and do not move pass the punchline to analyze what it is saying, which is a disservice to both the artist and the viewer.
2. His works implicate the audience and enmesh them in what Tom Morton calls a 'mutual corruption', such as in Unfitted (2004), to take pleasure and being entertained, and at the same time, to think of children who are victims of one's everyday pleasures.
3. Many works reflect on his relationship with the art world, his entanglements with it. The art world provides him the opportunity to make work but at the same time he's frustrated by its restrictions and his lack of control:
a. A Sunday in Rivara (1992) literalizes his escape from the exhibition by knotted bed-sheets hanging down from the window.
- Vito Acconci's springboard out the gallery window is sharper
b. Unfitted (1996)
c. Finally, Wrong Gallery — can't live with the art world and can't live without it. His solution is to function within it and continue poking fun at it. Is this a defeatist attitude?
Observations and possible discussion questions
1. A point of art is to change it (what it's critiquing), and irony doesn't work.
a. Blown Away
b. Wrong Gallery's participating at Frieze art fair
Irony doesn't work in changing what it is making fun of: do you agree or disagree?
2. Even if a piece can't change what it is critiquing, it is still worth making if it is funny and accessible to a non-art-world audience on some level. (The most interesting pieces are those that go outside the art world, such as The Ninth Hour/La Nona Ora).
What if it is only accessible to the art world elites? That provides a laugh to the art elite without changing anything. Is it still worth doing? (Thinking of post-Marxist, e.g. Lessig, as well as Hal Foster's critique of institutional critique art e.g. Andrea Fraser's).
Article: Tom Morton. "Maurizio Cattelan: Infinite Jester". The Artist's Joke (Documents of Contemporary Art).