The Guggenheim Organizes Seven-Hour Finale for Maurizio Cattelan: All

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Maurizio Cattelan. Photo: Pierpaolo Ferrari

On the occasion of Maurizio Cattelan's announcement of his retirement from art making, the Guggenheim is marking the closing of the Maurizio Cattelan: All exhibition by holding a multidisciplinary program called The Last Word on Saturday, January 21, at 6 pm. During the seven-hour finale event, thirty or so prominent representatives from the fields of visual art, philosophy, literature, film, music, economics, law, politics and activism, religion, dance, theater, sports, and fashion will come together to contemplate the subject of voluntary endings.

Maurizio Cattelan: All brings together virtually everything the artist has produced since 1989 and presents the works en masse, strung seemingly haphazardly from the ceiling of the Guggenheim's Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda. Hoisted by rope as if on a gallows, the suspended objects explicitly reveal the undertone of death that pervades the artist's work. More than just a powerful culmination of a career, this exhibition signifies its end. With the opening of Maurizio Cattelan: All, Cattelan announced his retirement from the art world, although what this means precisely remains to be seen.

Organized as series of brief 10-to-15-minute individual presentations, The Last Word seeks to tackle with equal levity that most difficult moment: to decide when to stop one thing and begin another or to end it altogether. More than just some winter morbidity, less strenuous than a long-distance race, and much more than a quick sprint, this event will be a meditative seven-hour jog around life's Central Park of pleasures, desires, and regrets.

Topics for the multifarious talks include the cessation of art making, famous death acts in the history of theater, the literary and documentary traces of suicide, musical endings, explorations of the idea that to philosophize is to learn how to die, apocalyptic and eschatological religious beliefs, the end of psychotherapy, the economics of retirement, the various cultural rituals surrounding death, and—in a world that never ceases to spin and where we are always sucked toward the short-term future—what it means to end, to stop, to bring matters to a halt.

Participants include Aquila Theatre, Harmony Korine and Proenza Schouler, Drew Daniel and Matmos, Tracey Emin, Marc Etkind, Tehching Hsieh, David Lipsky, Courtney Love, Adam McEwen, Rick Moody, Sina Najafi, George Vecsey, and many more. The full list of participants and the scheduled order of programming can be found on the Guggenheim's Events Calendar. The Last Word is co-organized by Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor, the New School for Social Research, and Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and curator of Maurizio Cattelan: All.

This finale event will take place in the Guggenheim's Peter B. Lewis Theater, and admission is pay what you wish. The exhibition Maurizio Cattelan: All will remain on view for the full program, which ends at 1 am, and a cash bar will be available from 8 pm onward. Visit the Events Calendar for full details, and RSVP on the program's Facebook page.

Maurizio Cattelan. Photo: Pierpaolo Ferrari