Time Out New York, July 13, 2009 [published online only]
Triple Candie Reopens with a Bang - And a Qualifying Statement
By T.J. Carlin
This thoughtful rejoinder was sent out by the newly reopened Triple Candie in response to feedback on their choice of exhibition for their fresh location:
A NOTE FROM TRIPLE CANDIE
On Friday, June 26, shortly after 9:30 p.m., we circulated an e-mail announcing the opening of our current show - “Maurizio Cattelan Is Dead: Life & Work, 1960–2009.” Twenty-four hours earlier, the world had learned of the death of two other celebrities - Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Not surprisingly, people who attended our opening reception that Sunday asked if the exhibition had been conceived of in response to these recent events.
The truth is that our exhibition had been planned for more than seven weeks. It required extensive research at the Museum of Modern Art library, in our own library, and online, as well as weeks of shopping on eBay. It then took several weeks to write the nearly one hundred wall texts, and an equal amount of time to install the exhibition.
We mention all this because yesterday this strange coincidence—the opening of our show and the deaths of Fawcett and Jackson—got a little bit stranger. An article in this weekend’s New York Times addressed a recent spate of death-reporting hoaxes (“Death by Cliff Plunge, with a Push from Twitter”) that have proliferated over the past week on the Web. One of these hoaxes had Jeff Goldblum falling to his death off a cliff in New Zealand while filming a movie; another had Miley Cyrus dying in a car accident. Considering “Maurizio Cattelan Is Dead” in this new context, further reinforces the notion that it was conceived of as a joke. Surely, Maurizio’s own career is peppered by jokes, hoaxes, and an obsession with death, but our show isn’t really about that.
Why do we care if people misinterpret our intentions? Because they have been routinely misinterpreted, which unfortunately changes the way our exhibitions are collectively understood. We hope that those of you who are wrestling with Triple Candie’s recent “art without art” programming will—if you are able—judge “Maurizio Cattelan Is Dead: Life & Work, 1960–2009” in person, for yourselves, and not too quickly dismiss the show for something it is not. For us, the retrospective is an attempt to understand the career arc of an artist who—as much as any other coming to prominence in the 1990s—has defined and been defined by a (now temporarily moribund) decade of biennial and art fair opulence. But it is also a means to muse on the murderous aspect of retrospectives themselves—in this case, the artist’s first. A critic who visited the gallery last Thursday told us that the show “is more generous than he would have imagined.”
What it might mean for you is another story.