You Can Now Take A Dump In A Solid-Gold Toilet And Call It Art

It’s easy to mistake New York’s newest site-specific artwork for a common toilet.
That would be because Maurizio Cattelan’s “America” looks and functions exactly like a commode, save for the fact that it’s cast in solid gold. Yes, if you so wish, you can defecate into Cattelan’s luxury appliance, fulfilling your morose dream to shit on a piece of contemporary art.
You’ll just have to pay the compulsory $15 admission fee at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to do so.
SOLOMON R GUGGENHEIM FOUNDATION (PHOTO: KRIS MCKAY)
Maurizio Cattelan, “America,” 2016, Gold, 72.4 x 35.6 x 68.6 cm. (Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, copyright Maurizio Cattelan.)
”America” ― henceforth referred to as The Toilet ― sits in one of the Guggenheim’s actual restrooms, awaiting patrons in dire need of a pee. Eager users will find a security guard posted outside the public space, making sure Cattalan’s work is kept clean and free of enthusiastic tributes to its splendor vandalism. 
According to Fox News, the golden throne will require cleaning crews to use medical wipes to clean The Toilet after each user, regularly steaming and polishing it to keep the 18-karat glimmer in check.

 

WILLIAM EDWARDS VIA GETTY IMAGES
But what are we actually to make of what appears to be a simple golden toilet masquerading as art?
The Toilet functions as an homage to Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” that other famous artsy receptacle ― a ready-made sculpture that looked just like a urinal, because it was one. According to the Guggenheim, The Toilet also alludes to Piero Manzoni’s “Artist’s Shit (1961),” for which Manzoni supposedly sold his own excrement for a cost equivalent to its own weight in gold. (Cans of his excrement ended up at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Tate museum in London.)
Other artists have dabbled in the realm where human waste meets art before Cattalan. Tobias “Tobi” Wong created a pill that would allegedly turn a wealth-loving individual’s feces into sparkling packages. And, of course, who can forget “Piss Christ,” a 1987 photograph that depicted a plastic crucifix submerged in a jar of artist Andre Serrano’s own urine.

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