On your next visit to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, consider making a trip to the bathroom! Since May 4, 2016, the museum has installed a toilet in 18K solid gold designed by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.
This installation is the first artwork Maurizio Cattelan has produced since his 2011 Guggenheim retrospective, named “Maurizio Cattelan: All”, which initiated the artist’s self-imposed exile.
“Cattelan’s toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market, but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all, its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity” says the museum.
The work entitled “Maurizio Cattelan: America” is inspired by the urinal designed by the French artist Marcel Duchamp. But unlike Duchamp’s urinal, the solid gold toilet is fully functional and open to visitors.
“The new work makes available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent”, says thee museum, “Its participatory nature, in which viewers are invited to make use of the fixture individually and privately, allows for an experience of unprecedented intimacy with an artwork”.
If the toilet is accessible for all, be aware that a vigil will be positioned permanently at the entrance of the toilet to make sure no visitor tries to leave with the handle of the toilet flush…