Who is Maurizio Cattelan, and what does he have to do with Milan and our guided walking tours?
Cattelan, an Italian contemporary artist, has recently hit the news for a rather funny dispute involving the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Mr. Donald Trump and a very peculiar sculpture: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country. The whole story is rather funny, and that is no surprise when Cattelan is involved. Cattelan’s work , which have sold for millions of dollars, are often satirical and provocative, such as a sculpture depicting Pope John Paul II lying on the ground after being hit by a meteorite.
He co-founded the magazine Toilet Paper (long before the Guggenheim’s “America”!) and in 2011 a retrospective exhibition of his works, “All”, was organized at the Guggenheim Museum, where all his works were hung up like laundry to dry.
But Cattelan is also one of the protagonist of our guided tours, the creator of a sculpture that we admire at one of the stops in the Highlights and Beyond tour and an increasingly beloved highlight of our city. It is named “L.O.V.E.”, it proudly stands in front of the building where the Italian Stock Exchange is located, right in the middle of the financial district, and it represents… well, an 11-metre white marble middle finger sticking straight up from an otherwise fingerless hand.
Sheer vulgarity? Pointless provocation? Easy satire? Not at all, or maybe yes, in part, but that is not the whole story. Cattelan has always resisted interpreting his work, telling interviewers he would leave that to his audience. As it always is the case with art, multiple interpretations are possible.
Join us on a guided tour of our city, and we will reveal you the hidden messages of the naughty boy of the art world.