These days it seems common practice to read about music groups splitting up, getting back together, or quitting the business entirely. Less so with artists, however. This may be why Maurizio Cattelan‘s recent declaration that he is “quitting” the art world following his Guggenheim retrospective “All”– which opened yesterday in New York, though the camera phones were heard all around the world – has been met with skepticism. Cattelan isn’t Tehching Hsieh, after all. How does one stop being an artist, when the occupation is so nebulously defined? Stop making things himself? Cattelan already outsources his production. Stop having ideas…? Should Cattelan’s announcement be seen a speculative gesture? A market manipulation? A nod to buy up works now that the supply has come to an end?
Yesterday, Cattelan hushed those questions by bringing up new ones. For his retrospective, he chose to hang every work he has every made as a type of chandelier from the ceiling of the Guggenheim. According to eye-witness collector Adam Lindemann:
But what does it look like in person, you wonder? In typical Cattelan fashion, what sounds at first like a one-liner develops into something much more complex, something that involves the art, the architecture, the artist’s past, his present and everything in between. You’ll see from the images that the works are all strung up in this bizarre mobile, one that is at least five stories high. At the top is a large round metal frame from which each piece is suspended on its own individual platform, allowing the viewer to see the whole and also each piece individually.
What does this mean in terms of greater art world resonance? Read more from Lindemann’s humorous take on the show.
“All” is on view through January 22, 2012.