Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
The Guggenheim is currently exhibiting America, an installation by the artist Maurizio Cattelan that consists of a fully functional 18-karat-gold toilet. The piece invites visitors, in the words of the museum, to have “an experience of unprecedented intimacy with a work of art.” Here is a selection of images posted on social media by visitors to the exhibit. The average wait to view or otherwise interact with America is, at last check, two hours.
More information about the piece: https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/maurizio-cattelan-america
"For “America” Cattelan replaced the toilet in this restroom with a fully functional replica cast in 18-karat gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent. 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 a work of art. 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."
Another cultural reference now also attends the work: in a word, Trump. The aesthetics of this “throne” recall nothing so much as the gilded excess of Trump’s real-estate ventures and private residences. While Cattelan agrees that he could hardly have known about the rise of Trump when he conceived of the piece, he said that, “it was probably in the air.” He added, that the Trump connection is, “another layer, but it shouldn’t be the only one.”
Editor's note: Quite the piece in the current political climate. Looking forward to your comments!