Artist
Maurizio Cattelan
Italian artist

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Maurizio Cattelan
Italian artist
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Birth Date

September 21, 1960

jtucker's picture

Contributor

Some folks just can’t take a joke. If you happen to one of those people, you will not like the work of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

Cattelan is one of those enigmatic types you just can’t quite figure out. That’s probably because it is nearly impossible to ascertain if he is telling the truth or not, or if it is Cattelan you are even talking to. The nutso artist has been known to send look alike impersonators to interviews when he does feel like basking in the spotlight. Additionally, he has been known to tell some pretty far out tales to whoever will listen. My personal favorite is when he told a collector he once cooked a cat with a priest in Milan and ate it. We can only hope this one was a lie…

These types of moves have landed Cattelan with the title of "court jester of the art world." Not a bad label to have, the art world has been known to be a bit stuffy at times, and Cattelan certainly brings levity to the table.

Not only is he a jokester, he is also a prankster. Fearing he did not make enough work for an upcoming exhibition, he once filed a false police report claiming that his art had been stolen from the exhibition venue. He then used the report as the centerpiece of his show to make up for the lack of work. Another time while in Amsterdam, Cattelan stole another artist’s work from a nearby exhibition and tried to pass it off as his own. That was until the police found out and made him return it. 

Given his propensity to jack other people’s work, it comes as no surprise that Cattelan doesn’t even make his own art and rather has technicians produce it for him. He has even admitted that he has no idea how to draw or fabricate his own sculptures; he is simply a dreamer, the mastermind behind the skillful touch of another artisan’s hand.

Not that this stops people from eating up his work like a fat kid with cake. Cattelan is one of the world’s richest living artists with work regularly selling at auction for millions. People just seem to love how his realistic sculptures, while scathing with social commentary, remain lighthearted and playful – just like Cattelan himself.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Maurizio Cattelan

Maurizio Cattelan (born 21 September 1960) is an Italian artist. He is known for his satirical sculptures, particularly La Nona Ora (1999) (The Ninth Hour, depicting Pope John Paul II struck down by a meteorite), Him (2001), America (2016), and Love Lasts Forever (1997).

Early life and education

Cattelan was born on 21 September 1960 in Padua, Italy. He started his career in the 1980s making wooden furniture in Forlì (Italy).

He created a sculpture of an ostrich with its head buried in the ground, wore a costume of a figurine with a giant head of Picasso, and affixed a Milanese gallerist to a wall with tape. During this period, he also created the Oblomov Foundation.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Maurizio Cattelan.