"Maurizio Cattelan"

From Pope John Paul II to foosball, this Italian artist has something to say about it all

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan tweaks reality in smart, occasionally grotesque ways, constructing send-ups of religion, politics and art itself with little regard for politeness. His better-known work includes a 2004 Milan installation that featured three realistic sculptures of children dangling wide-eyed from nooses tied to a tree branch in a central plaza, as well as a depiction of Pope John Paul II crushed by a meteorite. Another well-known work - turn the page now if you're faint of heart - features a really long foosball table.

The Menil Collection will host "Maurizio Cattelan," the artist's first solo show in Texas, which will include the likes of memento mori, Untitled, a stuffed horse that seems to have had a powerful but clean collision with the gallery wall, and Ave Maria, a line of arms extending out from the wall in a Nazi salute. Of course, "Ave Maria" translates as "Hail Mary," which, when tied to the sieg heil hand motion, seems to make a point that's not exactly groundbreaking. But even when the insight isn't totally fresh, Cattelan's art is too humorous and strange to miss. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays. Through August 15. 1515 Sul Ross. For information, call 713-525-9400 or visit www.menil.org. Free.
Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Feb. 11. Continues through Aug. 15, 2010

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