The Guggenheim Is Installing a Solid Gold Toilet by Artist Maurizio Cattelan


Rendering for Maurizio Cattelan: “America” courtesy the artist © Maurizio Cattelan

Going to the bathroom at the Guggenheim just got a lot more extravagant. The New York City art museum just announced that in May, it will be playing host to an unusual kind of interactive exhibit: a golden toilet.

Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian artist with a penchant for satirical, uncouth sculptures (like a 13-foot-tall middle finger) has decided to come out of his self-imposed semi-retirement with a sculpture called “America.” He’s installing a solid-gold, fully functional toilet in the museum. Visitors will be able to “make use of the fixture individually and privately,” as the Guggenheim’s press release explains, enjoying the kind of luxury only billionaire butts typically get to experience. Not to mention the "unprecedented intimacy with an artwork" the piece offers.

“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,” the Guggenheim's curators tout in their release. It's poop with a point, you see.

The art world, of course, is no stranger to bathroom humor. Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, a urinal the artist submitted for exhibition in 1917, is considered one of the premiere icons of 20th century art. A 1964 replica is now on prominent display in the Tate Modern in London. In 2000, Sotheby’s sold a Piero Manzoni Artist’s Shit. The cans—of what the Italian artist said were his literal feces, made in 1961, and originally sold for the price of their weight in gold—went for $67,000. Cattelan apparently recognizes that one can never have too many high-class poop jokes.

You can get in line to poop on the art starting May 4.

[h/t The New York Times]