Born 1960, Padua, Italy
Lives and works in New York, New York
Maurizio Cattelan's artworks target power structures—institutions, laws, and
ideological constructs, such as social norms, party lines, and organized religions.
Yet his work of the last decade has revealed him to be a believer, if not in good
and evil, then in notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice. The level of
controversy he has managed to create around his practice is a testament to the
strength of visual representation to engage in the largest and most difficult issues
of our time. Cattelan is relentless in his analysis of human cruelties and iconoclastic
in his choice of weapons. Now, according to the artist, is a commentary on the state of
American politics today, a moment in which the United States lacks precisely the kind of
internationally popular figurehead that President John F. Kennedy represented. But like
all of Cattelan's best work, Now transcends its most obvious reading to touch on more
universal concerns. Depicting a contemporary martyr, the work questions the existence
of redemption in this and other sacrifices made over the past 50 years. Meant to inspire
nostalgia, perhaps even anger, Now implicitly evokes a longing for a time vastly different
from the present.
Bonami, Francesco, et al. Maurizio Cattelan. London: Phaidon Press, 2003.
Gioni, Massimiliano. "Maurizio Cattelan, 'Him.'" Flash Art 34, no. 218 (May–June 2001): 114–17.
Maurizio Cattelan. Exhibition catalogue. Basel: Kunsthalle Basel, 1999.
Smith, Roberta. "Cattelan Uncovered." Art Review (International Edition) 54, no. 8 (2003): 40–47.
Work: Art in Progress (January–March 2004): 18–81. Special section, including essays by Laura Hoptman, Catherine Grenier, Hans Ulrich Obrist, et al.