Take Maurizio Cattelan’s latest work, for example. The Italian artist may have announced his retirement five years ago, but unable to stay away from the beloved art world, he turned to NYC’s Guggenheim Museum to stage his comeback.
It’s not the famed museum’s galleries you’ll find his latest piece in, though. Instead, you’ll have to head straight for the small public bathroom near the top of the spiral staircase, where you’ll be able to admire Maurizio’s 18K gold commode. Yes, you read that right: an 18K gold toilet. And here’s the kicker: It’s totally functional and open for use!
In a Facebook post unveiling the work, which is titled America and is an exact replica of the toilet that was there before it (ya know, minus the fact that’s it’s made of solid gold), the Guggenheim team pointed out that “in a gallery environment where visitors are usually told, ‘don’t touch,’ this is an extraordinary opportunity to spend time completely alone with a work of art.” Well, erm, we suppose that’s true!
Meanwhile, over on their website, the Guggenheim elaborates on the meaning behind this, shall we say, one of a kind art installation. “Cattelan’s toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all,” they write. “Its utility ultimately [reminds] us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.” Again, we suppose that is true.
Promoting the grand opening of America (which will be displayed indefinitely) on Facebook, the Guggenheim is encouraging everyone to give it a try. Or, at the very least, to check it out. Maybe take a selfie, if you’re bold enough? And if you’re curious about the logistics of it all, rest assured that the toilet will be cleaned every 15 minutes with special products that ensure its longevity.
The cleaning team will “use special wipes, like medical wipes, that don’t have any fragrance or color or oxidizers,” explained senior conservator of objects Nathan Otterson to The New Yorker. Sounds like the team is ready to take really special care of this royal toilet, although, we must say we like artist Maurizio’s cheeky suggestion best: “They’ll use Bulgari wipes and Chanel powder!”
Will you be using the Guggenheim’s new masterpiece? Tweet us @BritandCo.