Felix

A gigantic cat skeleton stands in the center of a large atrium with its back arched and its tail pointed straight up in the air.
  1. Long A cat skeleton stands two-stories-tall and ready to pounce, with its spine arched, tailbone on end, and fanged mouth hanging open. It is poised on all fours in the middle of a dimly lit, blue-tinged large gallery space and its white form is dramatically illuminated as if caught in the night.
Maurizio Cattelan, Felix, 2001. Oil on polyvinyl resin and fiberglass; 26 × 6 × 20 ft. (7.9 × 1.8 × 6.1 m). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Edlis/Neeson Art Acquisition Fund, 2001.22. © 2001 Maurizio Cattelan. Photo © MCA Chicago.

About

The MCA’s beloved sculpture Felix (2001) by Maurizio Cattelan (Italian, b. 1960) is on view for the first time since 2006 as part of the museum’s 50th anniversary celebration. Purposely designed to fit in the MCA’s Kovler Atrium, this work plays with the popularity of prehistoric dinosaur skeletons like the Field Museum’s legendary T-Rex named Sue. In typical Cattelan fashion, the skeleton depicts a gigantic, fictional cat rather than an actual fossilized species. Measuring more than twenty-six feet tall at the tip of its outstretched tail, the commanding sculpture has been meticulously fabricated to mimic the look and feel of bones.

Cattelan is known for an artistic sensibility at once shocking, controversial, and humorous, as seen in works such as the solid gold toilet that was recently installed in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, a sculpture of Pope John Paul II being struck by a meteor, or a pint-sized Adolf Hitler kneeling in a prayer of forgiveness. At the core of his work, however, is an urge to snap viewers to attention to question their preconceptions and think critically about the world around them.

Felix will be joined by other icons of the MCA’s collection, including Jeff Koons’s Rabbit (1986), Rene Magritte’s Wonders of Nature (1953), and Francis Bacon’s Study for a Portrait (1949), in a series of 50th anniversary exhibitions.