The piece of art named ‘America’ by Maurizio Cattelan is an 18-karat pure gold fully functional toilet that is now open to use by Guggenheim guests from Friday. The art piece is meant to be provocative in both its name as well as its function.
Museum curator, Nancy Spector worked closely with Cattelan and explained that the piece is more than just a shiny toilet; its also a full experience. “People will most likely wait in line.. and individuals will use it one at a time. There will be a security guard outside who will explain to people what the piece is.. And then people will use it as they would a bathroom.” Spector explained.
She also said that the piece is also meant to challenge the typical experience of going to a museum. “The fact that it is very welcoming, inviting for anyone to use, gets to the heart of a lot of questions around exclusivity in the art world and in museums in particular. And this notion of having a very intimate private experience with a work of art, and a work of art that speaks quite dramatically about its own value, is fascinating on so many levels.”
The Guggenheim’s blog post titled “Game Of Throne: Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘America’ Comes To The Guggenheim” explains that allowing visitors to use the toilet could push the piece to its practical limits. “It will be a test of the piece” Cattelan said. The post also mentioned the possibility of the piece being a political statement against the only American politician who probably already owns a solid gold toilet. Though Cattelan explained that the piece’s conception predates Donald Trump’s rise to the top of US politics, but “it was probably in the air,” he said.