MAURIZIO CATTELAN (b. 1960) Hollywood, 2001

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Lot 33W
(b. 1960)
Hollywood, 2001

US$ 350,000 - 450,000
£ 280,000 - 360,000
Hollywood, 2001

Cibachrome face-mounted to Plexiglas

68 7/8 x 154 3/4in.
174.9 x 393.1cm

This work is number six from an edition of ten, plus two artist's proofs.


  • Provenance
    Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner.

    Turin, Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Form Follows Fiction, 17 October 2001-27 January 2002 (another from the edition illustrated in color, pp. 3-4).
    New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Maurizio Cattelan: All, 4 November 2011-22 January 2012 (another from the edition exhibited, illustrated, pp. 110-111).
    Bordeaux, Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Rêves de Venise, 23 March-21 July 2013 (another from the edition exhibited).
    New York, Venus Over Manhattan & S|2, Maurizio Cattelan: Cosa Nostra, 7 November 2014-10 January 2015 (illustrated in color, pp. 19, 54).

    H. P. Schwerfel, "Kunst Under Schock", in Art, das Kunstmagazin, 2002, no. 3 (illustrated in color, pp. 18-19).
    F. Bonami, N. Spector, B. Vanderlinden and M. Gioni, Maurizio Cattelan, New York, 2003 (illustrated in color, p. 186).
    "Art and Its Markets, A Roundtable Discussion with A. Weiwei, A. Cappellazzo, T. Crow, D. De Salvo, I. Graw, D. Joannou, R. Pincus-Witten, J. Meyer and T. Griffin", in ArtForum International, April 2008, Vol. XLVI, no. 8, pp. 293-303 (illustrated in color, p. 297).

    "It's like spraying stardust over the Sicilian landscape; it's a cut and paste dream... I tried to overlap two opposite realities, Sicily and Hollywood: after all, images are just projections of desire, and I wanted to shade their boundaries. It might be a parody, but it's also a tribute. It's like freezing the moment in which truth turns into hallucination. There is something hypnotic in Hollywood: it's a sign that immediately speaks about obsessions, failures and ambitions. It is a magnet for contradictions."1

    At least that's how Cattelan describes his epic Hollywood project. In 2001, in perhaps his most impressive and large scale installation to date, Cattelan installed atop the Bellolampo hill above Palermo a larger-than-life-size reproduction of the famed Hollywood sign constructed from 500 tons of steel, iron and concrete. Unlike the real Hollywood sign which gracefully presides over the glamorous celebrity-ridden Hollywood Hills neighborhood, Cattelan's version straddles a literal garbage dump high above the poverty stricken Sicilian city.

    The installation itself was created as an off-site adjunct exhibition for the 2001 Venice Biennale and thus was highly publicized, perhaps more so than any of his other projects. But simply erecting the giant signage was not enough for Cattelan, and it did not render the work complete. For the work to be truly successful, Cattelan had to come up with something quite ingenious. While the rest of the art world was happily ensconced in the plush comforts of Venice, Cattelan dragged a lucky group of 150 journalists, collectors and art world insiders to the site of his installation in Palermo to experience his work first hand at a special cocktail reception. The irony of a fancy art world opening happening on a garbage heap above a poor city was not lost on anyone.

    By bringing a little bit of Hollywood to Palermo, Cattelan, according to Nancy Spector, "transposed an image associated with the dreams of a culture smitten with the movie industry to a completely antithetical locale. On the one hand, according to the artist, the culture of Southern California lives only for the realm of what might happen: 'In a way Hollywood and Los Angeles have become what they are by simply erasing their past. They shape their image according to a mirage: they have decided to live in the shadow of the future'... in contrast, continues Cattelan, Palermo is 'a city that has to struggle everyday with its own conception of its past and present.' This inversion of realities—a 'cut and paste dream'—reveals the inherent contradictions between radically different cultures, but at the same time it begins to tease out points at which they coincide."2

    This is where Cattelan's genius, wit and irreverence shine. Politics and the skewed relationship between the art market and the economy are pervasive topics in Cattelan's work, so the jab at both these subjects in Hollywood is not that surprising. Here, Cattelan poignantly, and forcefully even, compares the discordance between the wealthy Northerners and the poor Southerners in Italy where crime and unemployment run rampant alongside the wealthy suburbs of Hollywood Hills and the grittier Los Angeles underworld beneath it. There is, however, happily always a humorous and bright side to Cattelan's work. In this case, even if just for a moment, Cattelan brings a sense of glamour and the cult of celebrity to Palermo, a city which inspired countless tales that Hollywood cinematic history is built upon.

    As Cattelan's sculptural installation was a temporary exhibition for the Biennale, he wanted to create a lasting work which would evoke the memory of the project and keep it fresh in people's minds. The present work, also entitled Hollywood, is a limited edition large scale photograph of the installation made on the opening day of the exhibition and taken by helicopter which also brought his guests to the reception. By keeping the work alive and fresh through the lasting photographic evidence of the project, Cattelan creates a further dimension or layer to the work whereby we, as outsiders, are forced to confront and mentally struggle with the reality of economic and social disparity. Cattelan states, "The best art works live in your head, they must carry something that produces information, something that triggers your attention and stays with you.... I think the best art works have always... [carried] the germ of a story, something grows and changes as you pass it along to others."3

    1. Maurizio Cattelan, quoted in a 2001 press release, reproduced at
    2. Nancy Spector, "Spectacle Culture and the Mediated Image", in Maurizio Cattelan: All, exh. cat., New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2011, pp. 111-112.
    3. Ibid., p. 113.
MAURIZIO CATTELAN (b. 1960) Hollywood, 2001
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