At Carrara Academy of Fine Arts, Maurizio Cattelan and Massimo Bottura take the chair

Artist Maurizio Cattelan and chef Massimo Bottura were awarded the title of professor and honorary degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara.

A ceremony was held today, Monday, April 23, 2018, at theAcademy of Fine Arts in Carrara, Italy, to confer the title of Honorary Professor to artist Maurizio Cattelan (Padua, 1960) and an honorary degree to chef Massimo Bottura (Modena, 1962). Maurizio Cattelan is one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists on the world stage: Famous for his very particular self-portraits (such as Charlie, presented at the 2003 Venice Biennale, or Charlie don’t surf), for dense and innovative works such as 1997’s Novecento (the famous horse at Castello di Rivoli), 2007’s All (nine marble sculptures representing corpses covered by cloths), 2010’s We (two simulacra of the artist on his deathbed), 2017’s Museums League (the famous collection of stadium scarves ... for museums), as well as for such controversial achievements as 1999’s Ninth Hour (the portrait of Pope John Paul II struck by the meteorite), 2001’s Him (the sculpture depicting Hitler at prayer) and 2010’s L.O.V.E. (the middle finger in Milan’s Piazza Affari).

Cattelan, reads the laudation held by Professor Lucilla Meloni, “with his disruptive and original works, ironic, irreverent but also tragic, speaks to us as much about the existential condition of the human being (through the representation of the self, life and death) as about the world of which we are part (with its social, political, economic systems). An artist of his own time, of a complex era that has seen the end of modernity and of post-modernity itself, in which art necessarily had to confront the rapid linguistic, social, communicative changes and redesign another space for its own survival, Cattelan has succeeded in the undertaking, by no means simple, of giving artistic action the status of exceptionality that should be its own.”

Massimo Bottura is the owner of the Osteria Francescana restaurant in Modena, which was awarded three Michelin stars and, in 2016, topped the list of “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants,” becoming the first Italian restaurant to win the title. After studying law, Bottura began his career in the kitchen from a trattoria in Campazzo, learning Emilian cuisine, and later moved to France to study with Georges Cogny and Alain Ducasse, before working in 2000 with the famous Catalan chef Ferran Adrià at the restaurant “El Bulli” in Barcelona. The author of several cookbooks, he is also active in social work, having opened several refectories that welcome and cater to people in need.

For Bottura, the laudation was given by Professor Gerardo De Simone, who pointed out that “on a broader cultural level, cuisine invests the issues-now urgently topical-of the environment, territory, resources, history and traditions, society, economics, and religion,” and that the Acadèmie de France, among its fellows, includes chefs in addition to artists and researchers, “thus recognizing cultural dignity not only to plastic-visual arts, theater and cinema, literature and music, but also to the ars culinaria.”

The ceremony was held at the same time as the official opening of Eternity, Cattelan’s new project(photos of the project here, and an interview with Cattelan on the subject here instead ), which involved students from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara. Among them, twenty were selected to receive the scholarship guaranteed by Maurizio Cattelan, who donated thirty thousand euros (in twenty scholarships of 1,500 euros each) to the students.

Pictured: Maurizio Cattelan and Massimo Bottura today at the Academy of Carrara. Ph. Credit Michele Ambrogi

At Carrara Academy of Fine Arts, Maurizio Cattelan and Massimo Bottura take the chair
At Carrara Academy of Fine Arts, Maurizio Cattelan and Massimo Bottura take the chair

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