Tuesday, October 21, 2008


In 1999, Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan made a sculpture into a room completed with wax, clothing, polyester resin with metallic powder, volcanic rock, carpet, glass entitled La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour). The scene: a wax sculpture of the pope—painstaking in its realism—laying to one side of the room, crushed under the weight of an equally realistic meteorite that seemed to have come crashing through a skylight. Glass was scattered about the floor (not visible on the photograph).

Maurizio Cattelan is an Italian artist born in Padova, Italy, in 1960. He is probably best known for his satirical and controversial sculptures of which la Nona Ora is the most famous. Cattelan did not attend art school but taught himself and his personal art practice has led to him gaining a reputation as an art scene’s joker. He has been described by Jonathan P. Binstock, curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art "as one of the great post-Duchampian artists and a smartass, too". Cattelan is a knowing and sophisticated artist who teases the art world without ever falling into the naive trap of thinking he can subvert a system of which he is part.

He certainly is a smartass because la Nona Ora was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London as part of the prestigious Apocalypse show, and was sold at Christie's for $3 million. When you can reach prices of this magnitude as an artist with work of this artistic insignificance either you are a genius or the rest of the world is made of assholes. You chose !!!

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