maurizio cattelan's middle finger displayed in milan
maurizio cattelan's middle finger displayed in milan maurizio cattelan's middle finger displayed in milan
sep 26, 2010

maurizio cattelan's middle finger displayed in milan

the extended middle finger, pointed towards the financial gurus image © designboom




the most recent and much discussed artwork by maurizio cattelan arrived today in milan’s piazza affari, in front of the italian stock exchange building. the controversial monument is made in marble, about 4 meters high and has been allocated on a base that brings the sculpture to a total height of 11 meters. during the making process, the famed italian artist changed the title from ‘omnia munda mundis’ – literally meaning ‘to the pure [men], all things [are] pure’, a latin sentence that has entered a relatively common usage in many countries – to ‘L.O.V. E.’

giving the finger to bankers image © designboom




‘officially it’s name is L.O.V. E. – so it stands for love – but everyone can read between the lines and take away the message they see for themselves.‘ maurizio cattelan image © designboom




conceived especially for milan, all the fingers of the hand are cut off, except for the middle one, final mockery of all ‘isms’ – ‘against ideology’. the public monument was donated to milan but immediately refused by the city’s administrators.

image © designboom




the sculpture represents also the semantic turnover of the leader’s assertive gesture and of power, codified by the classical monument. a dialogue with the past: indeed, the artist is convinced that he has actually proposed a conservative and traditional work… an opinion which the top leaders of palazzo marino (the city’s town house) do not agree with. — it will be on view for only 10 days, during milan’s fashion week!


image © designboom

see here and here more images




‘we want to be confirmed as the capital of contemporary art‘, the city’s administrators officially stated, ‘and we have to not only mediate but also accept what we do not like‘.


the sculpture is part of an exhibition of the artist’s works at the museum palazzo reale, which opens today. at palazzo reale, only 3 more works are on view in the exhibition ‘against ideology’ : the ‘crucified woman‘, an installation of a life-size girl nailed down with pieces of wood and nails in a package box and put up on a wall, ‘la nona ora‘ (the ninth hour), the representation of pope wojtyla fallen to the ground, holding the pastoral in his hand, hit by a meteorite, and ‘the drummer‘.


the italian political class continues to stand in the way of cattelan’s art, a phenomenon which luckily has not occurred at the guggenheim museum of new york, ready to host in 2011 a retrospective dedicated to the contemporary master. the museum has approved all the material to exhibit, without any protest, neither against the ‘loathed middle finger’ nor against the hanging baby-puppets.

  • probably the italian political class would not say anything if this great artpiece went into a museum (like in nyc).
    Why doesn`t he place his finger in wall street?
    How many days of parking would he get over there?

    perplexed says:
  • Wrong direction? It’s the banker’s middle finger facing towards the viewer.

    Herbert says:
  • he’s the most interesting artist right now.
    and elegant.
    this sculpture should remain there!

    filo says:
  • very genius

    sinaalashty says:
  • In Denmark we can’t have a roundabout without someone placing a sculpture in the middle. Sometimes it looks like crap:,12.030083&spn=0.001495,0.004037&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=55.968952,12.029692&panoid=Sm2jphHWBHABRKdu2N4dnA&cbp=12,44.78,,0,1.89

    If they don’t like it in Milan, please wrap it in bubble plast and send it. 🙂

    happy dane says:
  • I don’t know what it means, but I like it a lot. Its somehow more focused but at the same time less literal than some of his other stuff. To me, its presence somehow represents the best of Italy and Italians

    the italian yob says:
  • genius??

    jesus christ. this is what art has turned into?
    one liners? jokes? a middle finger? and people are debating its “meaning”….really sad. it’s like that child’s story, “the emperor has no clothes”, everyone reluctant to call it what it is: a ridiculously simplistic, trite and cliched one-liner.

    so irreverent! so powerful!
    gimme a break. art is dying fast if this is what it is today.
    Rodin is rolling over in his grave, and Michelangelo is puking.

    whenthecathedralswerewhite says:
  • Couldn’t agree more whenthecathedralswerewhite.

    Matty W says:
  • A statement by bankers against regulators/public?
    Trimmed to the bare essentials.

    grumbelz says:
  • I believe it should be “rotated” d’-)

    Jetwax says:
  • @herbert:
    i think this makes allusion to the rude attitude brokers have de facto towards victims of capitalism. They have no sense of responsability for the society they live in. they live the rude “grab the money and run” attitude. So I presume the direction is right, because the spectator is supposed to realize the offensive attitude bankers tend to have towards “silly consumers” (typical excuse of madoff and others)

    art is t in motion says:
  • to whenthecathedralswerewhite,

    you don’t understand neither art nor other things. you should die believing the old traditions of 15-18th centuries, because you can’t see the world as it is now. you simply have no eyes.

    forza italia says:
  • The Commune of Milano doesn’t seem to accept contemporary art despite being a booming center of creativity. Look at all of the controversy over the fantastic work of Claes Oldenburg and Coosije van Bruggen in Piazza Cadorna! The 18 m glass and steel needle and thread gives the whole zone energy, yet it was nearly not accepted.

    Alanna says:
  • I agree that the he is both referring to the bankers in an agressive and passive sense, reflected in the dual titles.
    Agressive in higlighting the bankers attitude as mentioned above.
    PAssive in that he has removed the 4 digits aka L.O.V.E.
    He shows us without these four digits/letters what we are left with.

    Spirony says:
  • only a moron, or a liberal could think tha’s art-

    V. DaVinci says:
  • @whenthecathedralswerewhite
    michelangelo is not puking and rodin is not roling over because they’re dead. you’re conversation is older than even they are.

    m says:
  • Follow Maurizio Cattelan’s concept, it probably shows how the financial mechanism actually look at people who are not in its game.

    Chieh says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
501,537 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample