The controversial Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s bold, irreverent work skewers social who has been variously amusing and horrifying viewers since the early 90’s. Now he returns with a new, ongoing project at the Guggenheim museum.
“My aim is to be as open and as incomprehensible as possible,” he says. “There has to be a perfect balance between open and shut.”
For his 2012 retrospective at the Guggenheim, “All”, Cattelan hung the full range of his iconoclastic and modern sculptures from the center of the museum’s sanctified rotunda—including works of a miniature Hitler, Pope John Paul II.
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.
This art installation invites viewers to make use of the fixture individually and privately, allows for an experience of unparalleled intimacy with a work of art.
This artwork was as well suggested by the museum “for a long-term loan” to Donald Trump request for a Van Gogh‘s painting.
Cattelan’s toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all. This contemporary sculpture is a euphemism for toile and thought it would make for a good title for this article.
“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,” the Guggenheim promoted in an Instagram post.