The Dallas Museum of Art
and the Menil Collection
in Houston announced today the joint acquisition of a major sculpture by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, one of the most significant and provocative artists to emerge since the 1990s. This marks the first time that either the Dallas Museum of Art or the Menil Collection has acquired a work of art with a fellow museum.
The work, Untitled (2009), is both painting and sculpture, consisting of what looks to be an everyday push-broom pinning a canvas to a wall, distorting its surface. The work creates a nearly physical sense of discomfort for the viewer. While Cattelan draws on art historical precedents created by artists including Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, and Italian postWorld War II masters, the DMA-Menil work is a quizzical and challenging object that is all his own and entirely contemporary. Its informed irreverence to tradition and its ability to challenge our understanding of art make it a strong addition to each museums collection.
The work currently is on view at the Menil Collection.
It was acquired for the DMA through a gift from the Rachofsky Collection and Deedie and Rusty Rose, and for the Menil Collection through a gift from Nina and Michael Zilkha.
The Rachofsky Collection, which has been promised to the DMA as a bequest, includes another iconic Cattelan sculpture, Drummer Boy, which was memorably displayed on the roof above the reflecting pool in the DMA Sculpture Garden during Fast Forward. The kinetic, musical Drummer Boy could also be seenand heardon the roof of the Menil during the long run of its Cattelan exhibition last year.
We are extremely pleased to deepen the Dallas Museum of Arts holdings of modern and contemporary Italian art with such a quintessential work by Maurizio Cattelan. This forceful hybrid of painting and sculpture slyly shakes up our ideas of what constitutes art, and makes us question how we experience works of art in a museum context, said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. The DMAs collaboration with the Menil on this acquisition will strengthen the collections of both institutions and provide our audiences with greater access to the most exceptional of modern and contemporary artworks.
This work by Maurizio Cattelan resonates powerfully with and within the Menil Collection, said Menil Director Josef Helfenstein, drawing connections as it does between the museums modern-and-contemporary galleries and rooms devoted to Surrealism. It encapsulates this singular artists signature stylesurprising and even startling viewers at first glance. Following our recent solo Cattelan exhibition, we are thrilled that this work will remain in Texas, thanks to our teamwork with the Dallas Museum of Art and the special generosity of our friends.
In Untitled (2009) the use of common objects echoes Marcel Duchamps ready-mades and Robert Rauschenbergs combines. The work also makes reference to postwar Italian artists Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana, and Alberto Burri, who wrapped, enfolded, and distorted various types of cloth and materials around the traditional rectangular structures of a painting. Unlike these time-honored approaches, however, Cattelans Untitled prompts a sense of physical dislocation and discomfort, as the broom handle pushes into the canvas, upsetting its smooth surface and then seeming to be abandoned. As such, the work is quintessential Cattelan, drawing upon art historical references while continuing to push the limits of contemporary aesthetics through a sense of visceral effrontery and absurdity.