Maurizio Cattelan


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Is There Life Before Death?

Franklin Sirmans

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The subversive, often jarringly direct sculptures of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan (b. 1960) are acclaimed for their seemingly absurd juxtapositions and uncanny photorealism. Reflecting deep suspicions of religious and political authorities, these constructions serve as sardonic critiques of existing power structures, forcing the viewer to challenge his or her understanding of symbols, both iconic and commonplace.

This publication features new works by Cattelan, as well as several of his large-scale pieces dating from 2003 to 2007, all of which are considered in the context of the Menil’s remarkable holdings, with a focus on contemporary art. To this end, we see how works by artists such as Lucio Fontana, Robert Morris, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol “converse” with Cattelan’s art. With commentary from Franklin Sirmans, this book presents the rare opportunity to appreciate Cattelan’s works amid the backdrop of the 20th century.

Distributed for The Menil Collection

Exhibition Schedule:

The Menil Collection (February 11 – August 15, 2010)

Franklin Sirmans is the Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. From 2006-2009 he was Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Menil Collection.


The Menil Collection (February 11 – August 15, 2010)

ISBN: 9780300146882
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
Publishing Partner: Distributed for The Menil Collection
128 pages, 6 1/2 x 9
50 color illus.

Art for a Forgotten Faith

Edited by Franklin Sirmans; With contributions by Jen Budne

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Steve Wolfe on Paper

Carter E. Foster and Franklin Sirmans

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Vija Celmins

Television and Disaster, 1964-1966

Franklin Sirmans and Michelle White

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