At Home With the Curator Championing a New Generation of Italian Artists

The opposite is true, however, of the country’s contemporary art scene, centered in Milan, which has long reveled in daftness and satire. The landscape is dominated by merry pranksters with a Dadaist bent, including its chief provocateur Maurizio Cattelan, 58, whose puckish work includes “La Nona Ora” (1999), a sculpture-cum-installation of a lifelike, full-size Pope John Paul II felled by a meteorite, and “Daddy, Daddy” (2008), in which a Pinocchio puppet floats face down, presumably drowned, in a fountain. The multimedia and video artist Francesco Vezzoli, 47, is also a lodestar, known for his elaborately embroidered portraits of movie stars with metallic-threaded tears flowing from their eyes, evoking both Cindy Sherman and children’s paint by numbers.


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