Man in a Picasso Suit

In 1998, Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan hired an actor to put on a Disney-mascot-sized Picasso head and the painter's signature striped shirt and then hang out, jingling a cup of coins, near the MoMA entrance. At the time he said he liked "the contradiction of Picasso begging," but offered little more on the subject. Notorious for his pranks, Cattelan doubtless had an intent that hovered somewhere between homage, critique, and a joke at the art world's expense.

In preparation for the Walker Art Center's June 16 opening of the Whitney-organized exhibition Picasso and American Art, I emailed Cattelan asking for his thoughts on Picasso's impact on art, either his own or in general. His emailed reply, a lengthy list of lines that began "Picasso is," appeared to be either the result of free association or of a Google search of the phrase. Here's an excerpt from that email:
picasso is deadcattelan-sm.jpg
picasso is missing
picasso is a communist
picasso is an elderly cat with clipped ears
picasso is a docudrama and immortal beloved is a tragedy
picasso is not the sort of car that leaps to mind when you think 'road trip'
picasso is not the world
picasso is the only artist i know of that is mentioned in a devo song
picasso is 20th century art
picasso is one of the rare gold
picasso is being picky about eating and seems to be sulking
picasso is the greatest artist of the twentieth century
picasso is situated in the heart of historic paris
picasso is also equipped with a wealth of stowage space
picasso is much more controversial than Rembrandt
picasso is born in malaga in 1881 and died in the south of france in 1973
picasso is rather unique
picasso is a struggling artist
picasso is a feature film written and directed by stephen kijak with an ensemble cast including alexis arquette
picasso is a registered domain trade name of max corporation
picasso is not shown to have a remorseful bone in his body
picasso is known for his etchings
picasso is an interactive drawing tool in the style of unix idraw or macdraw
picasso is considered by most authorities as the greatest artist of the 20th century
picasso is soon to become a reality
picasso is the name of this ladybird
picasso is built in vigo
picasso is the greatest art genius of the twentieth century
picasso is a coloring book and creativity package for children
picasso is a womanizer
picasso is a 1994 westphalian gelding
picasso is interesting because everything about his life is related to his art
picasso is classified as a refined
Images courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery.

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