exclusive: watch artist maurizio cattelan host a hedonistic biennial with no art

In an clip from the documentary 'Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back,' the provocateur behind the infamous golden toilet curates the best art biennial you've never heard of.

by Hannah Ongley
Apr 14 2017, 4:00pm

You've heard of the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Bienniale, but what about the Caribbean Biennial? If so, you're probably familiar with art world enfant terrible Maurizio Cattelan. If not, don't worry — it doesn't exist. The Caribbean Biennial was a fake exhibition hosted by Cattelan that skewered the stuffiness of traditional art gatherings in the most fun way. As he reveals in an exclusive clip from Maura Axelrod's new documentary Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back, he once convinced a collector to give him free rooms at a Caribbean hotel. Cattelan wrote up a guest list that included Vanessa Beecroft and Wolfgang Tillmans plus a select few journalists, took out full page ads, sent out press releases, and secured institutional sponsorship. There was only one rule: no art. "It was just an exhibition of everything that surrounds art," he claims. That's not to say the hedonistic island excursion provided guests with nothing interesting to look at.

Axelrod's film is out in theaters today, and tracks the heretical artist from his early years making furniture to his 2011 retrospective at the Guggenheim. Among the more outrageous of the works he hung from the museum's rotunda: a floating lifeless Pinocchio, a woman nailed to a wall, and JFK in a casket. The question, "Who is Maurizio Cattelan?" is never fully answered, and it's best that way. We do learn that he throws great parties. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image courtesy Tribeca Film Festival

Maurizio Cattelan
Be Right Back