It’s confirmed: the art world has come down with a serious case of elephantiasis. First Chris Ofili’s elephant-dung works, then the paintings by elephants auctioned at Christie’s, and now the sculpture of 40-year-old Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan, whose show at the Marian Goodman Gallery just closed on Saturday. His Not Afraid of Love, a seven-foot-tall painted polyester-styrene baby elephant shrouded in a sheet was sold for “the low six figures” – a new high for Cattelan – to the Rubell Family Collection in Miami almost immediately after the show opened. Cattelan, described by moma curator Laura Hoptman as a “trickster,” has seen his prices climb dramatically in the past three years, driven by shows in Venice, Paris, and London. The “Il Supernoi” drawings of Cattelan, done by police sketch artists, have nearly doubled to $25,000. And his 1999 photographs of an actor in a huge Picasso head greeting visitors to MOMA like Mickey Mouse at Disney World have sold out for $15,000 each. Expect to see this elephant greeting visitors, too: The Rubell Collection is open to the public, and the second in the edition of two has been put on reserve for an unnamed museum.
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