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Cattelan’s ‘Middle Finger’ to Be Displayed at Milan Exchange

The City of Milan is likely to approve the display of Maurizio Cattelan’s controversial sculpture of the middle-finger gesture in front of the Italian Stock Exchange, Mayor Letizia Moratti said.

The display of Carrara marble sculpture, called “Against Ideology,” will be part of an exhibition of the artist’s works at the Palazzo Reale Museum in September. Cattelan insisted that the sculpture be installed at the square where the stock exchange is located. Telecom Italia SpA and equities-market regulator Consob also have offices in the square.

Cattelan, Italy’s most famous contemporary artist, sparked controversy in 2004 in Milan after a public showing of three mannequins of children hanging from a tree. His other works include a miniature sculpture of a praying Adolf Hitler entitled “Him.”

Cattelan’s request was opposed by Carlo Masseroli, head of the city’s Urban Development department. Borsa Italiana Chief Executive Officer Raffaele Jerusalmi, who originally opposed the proposal, has agreed to a single week of public viewing of the statue after meeting city officials today.

“The meeting with Borsa Italiana was positive,” Moratti said in a phone interview. The sculpture will be shown in the square during Milan’s fashion week in September, she said. The city’s governing council is expected to approve the Cattelan display at a meeting tomorrow, she said.

“Milan’s fashion week needs events to draw attention,” Moratti said. “Art and Cattelan’s works are part of this,” said the mayor, who is pushing for more modern art exhibitions in the city to get support from the city’s galleries for Milan’s first modern art museum in 2013. Milan is the third-largest market for contemporary art after New York and London, she said.

A museum of 20th-century art, to be called Museo del Novecento, is slated to open in November.

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