An 18-karat gold toilet titled “America” was set to make its debut in New York City’s Upper East Side Guggenheim Museum last week, but the dubbed work of art is having technical difficulties forcing a delayed unveiling.
The fully functional toilet, designed as a Kohler replica, will be installed in a private, unisex bathroom intended to be used or admired by museum visitors.
The Italian artist behind “America,” Maurizio Cattelan, told the New York Times last month that people can enter the tiled room, complete with a sink and mirror, “just to bask in [the toilet’s] glow…but it becomes an artwork only with someone sitting on it or standing over it, answering nature’s call.”
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The Guggenheim announced the toilet’s intended display last month, crediting the museum’s former deputy director Nancy Spector with organizing the exhibit.
“The new work makes available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent,” the museum’s press release read. “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 an artwork. 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.”