Maurizio Cattelan's retrospective was terrific. A totally playful, refreshing, and invigorating use of the actual museum space, and a welcome visual upset of the idea of a traditional retrospective, as such. I often feel flustered and crowded trying to negotiate other exhibits at the Guggenheim. The grotto-like galleries and hanging space along the walls are dimly lit, too contained, and the ramps too prone to traffic jams. Just the idea of going to a standard fare show there makes me drowsy, unenthusiastic, and mentally immediately heading to the cafe for dessert instead.
The giant mobile as the centerpiece of the building shifted the entire focus of the space to the bright, airy, atrium core of the building—an about-face that energized the space, transforming it into a bright, buzzing hive around a curatorial crescendo of the artist's work, with the pieces and installation as a whole conveying more dark, darkly humored, and weighty messaging steeped in inertia, limbo, death, rebellion, revolution, anarchy, persecution, dystopia, the apocalypse....etc.
The presentation alone looked at once like an actual capturing of imagination, a career hanging from the gallows, a sculptural birdcage (there were fake pigeons roosting on many of the cross beams!), an absurdist play on a Baroque Ceiling fresco, wildest dreams come true, a sculptural symphony with cartoonish Picasso as the commanding conductor...and so on. I really enjoyed winding around, rediscovering each work around every turn of curated chaos. Here are some snapshots: