Flush a functional solid-gold toilet at the Guggenheim Museum

Prankster artist Maurizio Cattelan redefines lavatory luxury with a solid-gold toilet you can actually use.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Gold toilet
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Gold toilet

This truly is a throne.

Maurizio Cattelan

Go look at your closest toilet. Most likely it's a white porcelain lump, an unimaginative ode to practicality. It doesn't have to be that way. Toilets can be exciting. They can push boundaries. They can be art. To prove this point, all you need to do is go visit the Guggenheim Museum in New York starting May 4. Prepare to be stunned and awed by a solid-gold toilet.

The toilet comes from artist Maurizio Cattelan. The Guggenheim refers to him as "the art world's resident prankster and provocateur." The gold toilet will replace an existing toilet in one of the museum's restrooms. It will be plumbed and fully functional, so visitors can stop in and either just admire it or go ahead and use it.

"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," says the Guggenheim.

You can't walk up and touch the Mona Lisa. You can't hug Michelangelo's David. But you can sit down (or stand up) and do your business with Cattelan's toilet art, which bears the humorous name "America." The toilet also makes reference to a famous 1917 piece by Marcel Duchamp, who presented a urinal as a work of art called "Fountain."

Art fans can most likely look forward to some pretty long bathroom lines for viewing and/or using the toilet. While most people find restroom queues to be an inconvenience, perhaps you can spend the time contemplating the meaning behind the golden loo.

The Guggenheim says Cattelan's "America" will give viewers "an experience of unprecedented intimacy with an artwork." Intimacy is certainly one word for it.

(Via Luxury Launches)