Artist Maurizio Cattelan, flushed out of retirement, has created an 18 karat gold toilet now installed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
The toilet is fully functional and is installed in a small restroom two-thirds of the way up the sloped spiral floor of the museum. It is an exact replica of the Kohler toilet that had been used in that restroom previously, according to Forbes.
Cattelan has named the piece “America,” and it will open to the public on Friday.
A guard will protect the toilet from being stolen, although it is very heavy. Guests will be allowed to use the artwork, and custodians will clean it every 15 minutes with special products like medical wipes to avoid damaging it with chemicals from regular products, Forbes said.
Cattelan has a history of using scatological materials in his work. In 2009 he published a magazine called Toilet Paper, and his 1997 work "Turisti" featured taxidermied pigeons and artificial pigeon feces.
The gold toilet was paid for with private funds by the Guggenheim and nods back to Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” a urinal entered in a 1917 art exhibition but never actually shown (it was hidden behind a screen). Ironically, both “Fountain” and “America” aim to poke fun at the very art community that celebrates them.
Cattelan retired five years earlier by hanging an exhibit of nearly all his work — 128 pieces — on the skylight at the top of the Guggenheim Museum atrium.
Cattelan apparently had more to say, however. According to the New Yorker, he commented on the gold toilet: “Whatever you eat, a two-hundred-dollar lunch or a two-dollar hot dog, the results are the same, toilet-wise.”
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.