The homeless are everywhere but treated as invisible and nonexistent. An art museum is probably the last place where you expect to encounter them. But two unhoused people perched in the lobby of the museum are difficult to go unnoticed.
Cattelan’s « homeless » series, life-sized effigies displayed in unexpected places, have provoked various responses. When it was first presented in 1996, passersby mistook Andreas e Mattia as real and reported them to the police. When Kenneth showed up on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in 1998, someone added to it a sign protesting against the increase of tuition fees. Unbeknownst to the artist, the work turned into a symbol of protest. Then followed a theft of his clothing and a copycat sculptures with a message claiming « We don’t need an Italian to teach us what art is. » Cattelan’s faceless « homeless » confronts viewers with a social issue that is otherwise neglected. Furthermore, the unusual placement questions who deserves a place in the museum.