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