You are now officially invited to spend a penny on a golden throne at a museum in New York, where one of the standard porcelain toilets in the unisex restroom was replaced with an 18-carat, solid gold toilet.
Not only is it fully functional, but it is open for all visitors of the Guggenheim Museum. Anyone who pays the admission fee for adults and all the children (who enter for free) are now able to use the already-famous toilet.
The 18-karat gold fixture bears the signature of Italian artist and sculptor Maurizio Cattelan, who created it as part of an exhibit called “America.” According to the museum’s blog, the highly unusual toilet is supposed to “remind us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.”
“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.”
For those who want to visit, the curious toilet was installed in the fourth floor restroom of the museum. According to Cattelan, you can use it just like any other toilet in the building. However, we understand why you might feel slightly flushed about taking a wee in such an expensive toilet.
On Monday, Michael Zall, associate director of operations at the Guggenheim, personally supervised the installation of the toilet. For obvious reasons, the museum announced that a security guard will be placed at all times at the entrance of the restroom.
Not only is he meant to make the gold toilet stays in place, but he will also be ready to answer any of your questions. The toilet is a piece of art, after all.
But the guard’s job is also to protect the artwork. Can you image how expensive it is? A normal porcelain fixture weighs between 70 and 120 pounds. Seeing that the gold toilet was modeled after it, its price could rise. It surely is one of the priciest commodes to date.
A cleaning crew will clean the gold toilet every 15 minutes. Due to the highly precious material of the fixture, the toilet will be cleaned only with medical wipes – fragrance-free and no color or oxidizing agents. It is also scheduled to undergo periodical polishing and steaming.
A toilet that fights economic inequality
Cattelan’s gold toilet goes further than an attempt to shock the public. His intent is to also make the individual who uses the restroom think about economic inequality – a current social issue in the U.S. The artists wanted to enable the public’s access to “an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the one per cent.”
Who would’ve thought that using the restroom could be so deeply philosophical?
“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.”
A history-inspired toilet
According to the Fifth Avenue Museum, the art piece is “a bold, irreverent work.” However, Cattelan is not the first to use such splashy methods to get his point across. His creation has been compared to the Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, a porcelain urinal that shocked the art world in 1917.
Duchamp had submitted the intriguing piece for the annual exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in New York. Even though it was rejected at the time, Duchamp’s urinal is now a famous piece of 20th century art.
About Maurizio Cattelan
Cattelan, 55, is a Milan-based artist famously known for satirical pieces of art. He has come out of a five-year retirement to make ripples with his gold toilet. One of this other provocative sculptures is La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), in which a statue of Pope John Paul II is struck down by a piece of meteorite.
Cattelan has taken upon himself to use art as a way of making fun of various systems of order. Many of his sculptures and magazine pieces take digs at the contemporary art world and the niceties it often includes.
In 2000, Maurizio Cattelan was a finalist for the Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss Prize. In 2004, the University of Trento, Italy, awarded him with an honorary degree in Sociology. That same year, he received the Arnold Bode prize from the Kunstverein Kassel, Germany.
While the gold toilet is not for sale, you can buy other gold-toned items – not limited for bathroom use. Check out our list of items below and rest assured: None of our listings are as expensive as Cattelan’s piece of art.
Sparkling Bathroom Accessory Set
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It’s not a gold toilet for your bathroom, but this set is still pretty neat. Made of durable resin material that’s easy to clean, this accessory ensemble will give your bathroom a new stylish feel. The elegant and luxurious design works best for a sophisticated theme.
The set includes two tumblers, one soap dish, one toothbrush holder, and one liquid soap dispenser. It can be a perfect gift for a house warming party.
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Gold Decorative Garland
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If you’re looking for decorations for a fancy event – a birthday party, baby shower, bridal shower, or wedding – look no more. This single garland of 10 feet will add enough sparkle to any setting.
Made of gold foil material, it will look great around your table hanging, on the wall, on the door, or on the shelves. You can easily hang the garland with tape on whatever location you decide upon.
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Gold Satin Queen Sheet Set
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Keeping with the golden theme, this sheet set is bound to steal your heart. Even though there is color variety, the golden linen for queen beds are the ones we have our eyes on. The luxurious set will ensure you enjoy an enchanted night’s sleep.
Made of 100 percent woven polyester satin, the sheets will feel smooth and silky against your skin. This sheet set includes a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and two standard pillowcases. The fitted sheets can be easily secured on the bed thanks to the elastic corners. The set is machine washable for easy care.
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Decorative Champagne Lamp
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This decorative lamp has a most unique shape – a champagne bottle. During the day, the coating of specialized gold glitter will make the lamp gleam and sparkle. At night, it turns into a dazzling centerpiece display.
Thanks to the 10 LEDs inside the bottle, the lamp shines with the allure of fairy dust floating in mid-air. You can lit up any can with the celestial glow of the decorative lamp. However, you can also use the bottle as a flower vase, as well as an ornamental feature for your living room. Each item includes a plastic base for easy placement on shelves, mantels, dressers and patios.
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Ivory/Gold Plastic Dinnerware for Weddings or Parties
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Throwing a fancy dinner party is always fun. That is, until you get to the part where you have to wash all the dishes. That’s why you need these plastic plates that imitate a china pattern.
With an innovative ivory and gold rim, these plastic plates come at a fraction of the cost of the real thing. The plate collection combines the elegance of original china with the convenience of disposable dinnerware.
You can choose from more than 20 patterns to enhance your parties and formal events. Not only will you avoid the after-party hassle, but you’ll also have ease of mind over breakage, transport and cleanup.
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Decorative Sequin Throw Pillow Cover
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These sequin throw pillow covers are the perfect accent color for your living room’s couch. You can either use them to cover your everyday throw pillows, or bring them out only on special occasions, such as a Christmas or New Year’s party.
High-quality sequin fabric covers one side; the other side features mystique satin, resulting in a blended and soft finish. While you can choose from various colors (champagne blush, purple, mint, pink, rose gold, and many more), we recommend the gold-toned variety.
Care instructions: Either dry wash or hand wash the throw pillow covers. At 18X18, they fit perfectly snugly on most soft pillow sizes.
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What do you think about a gold toilet as a piece of art? What about the fact that people can actually use it? Either way, it’s part of a contemporary art exhibit, which means the 18-karat fixture fits perfectly. Who knows what Cattelan will come up with next?