Maurizio Cattelan’s New Exhibition at Gagosian: Bold Statements and Reflection

Maurizio Cattelan Sunday at Gagosian in New York. Photo: Maris Hutchinson. Source: Maurizio Cattelan and Gagosian.

Maurizio Cattelan’s latest solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in New York, his first in over two decades, carries forward his tradition of challenging societal norms through politically charged works. Among Cattelan’s previous sensational pieces are a banana duct-taped to a wall and a sculpture of the Pope after being knocked over by a meteorite.

 Sunday, Cattelan’s exhibition at Gagosian, features a striking 17-foot-tall wall of panels spanning 68 feet. Cattelan uses these panels of stainless steel plated in 24-karat gold, which have been modified by gunfire, to confront America’s relationship with gun accessibility and economic inequality.

The artwork’s damaged surfaces symbolize the impact of firearms on society and art history, drawing parallels to past works like Edouard Manet’s “The Execution of Emperor Maximilian” and Chris Burden’s “Shoot.” Cattelan’s Catholic upbringing influences the opulence, with gold’s symbolic significance explored.

In the center of the gallery stands a marble sculpture of a middle-aged man lying on a bench, meticulously crafted in brilliant white. The figure shields his face with one hand while the other, inside his unzipped pants, emits water onto the bench.

Cattelan’s figure is not flaunting – he is transgressing but appears lost in thought, perhaps dreaming. The sculpture prompts reflection on how the public will perceive it. While initially drawing crowds due to its salacious content, prolonged observation reveals a man seeking a private moment—a relatable experience for many.

Cattelan named it “November (2024)” and has cryptically described it as depicting a deceased friend and addressing societal invisibility. The work hints at themes of the housing crisis and lack of public restrooms in the U.S., possibly serving as a subtle critique of Gagosian’s opulence.

Despite addressing sensitive topics, the artist maintains his observational approach, refraining from explicit judgment.

Born in Padua, Italy in 1960, Maurizio Cattelan lives and works in Milan and New York. His works are featured in prestigious collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Turin, and the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich. Cattelan has also participated in the Venice Biennale, Manifesta, Istanbul Biennial, and Whitney Biennial.


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