Take a crap on America…or piss on it if you like. Apparently a lot of folks want to, judging by the one to two hour long lines at New York’s prestigious Guggenheim Museum. “America” is what Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has named the functional toilet he cast in 18-carat gold and placed in a restroom at the museum. Cattelan replaced the existing toilet in a small single-unit museum restroom with his masterpiece.
The museum is urging its patrons to prepare themselves for “unprecedented intimacy with a work of art.” Visitors to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Manhattan’s Upper East Side are being encouraged to relieve themselves in “America,” and early reports are that they are waiting in long lines to do so. The golden throne will be on display indefinitely.
Curator Nancy Spector stated: “…people 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.” Brilliant! (I’m particularly happy about the “one at a time” thing).
The piece of…art…is meant to be a gesture of provocation, Spector says. “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 many, many levels,” she added.
Cattelan calls his installation: “One-percent art for the ninety-nine percent.” He states that he wants visitors to draw their own conclusions about the message. The museum proclaimed via a blog post: “Come spend a little time with ‘America,’ and you can ponder that meaning for yourself.”
This excremental art stems from a twisted, avant-garde mind… and mindset… all too commonly found in big, coastal cities and little, soulless people. The toilet is surely connected to the sewer.
Now we know the artist and the museum are, too.