Maurizio

Cattelan

Padova, 1960

America | 2016

America, 2016
(Graphite on paper)
cm 273 x 392
- Continenti , Studio Stefania Miscetti, Roma
Foto: Humberto Nicoletti Serra
Courtesy: Studio Stefania Miscetti, Roma


America, 2016
(18-karat gold toilet)
Courtesy: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York


Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s bold, irreverent work skewers social complacencies and reimagines cultural icons. On the occasion of his 2011–12 retrospective at the Guggenheim, which featured virtually every work he had ever made suspended from the oculus of the rotunda, Cattelan announced his retirement from art making. Five years later, he returns from this self-imposed exile with a new, ongoing project at the museum. For America Cattelan replaced the toilet in this restroom with a fully functional replica cast in 18-karat gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent. 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. 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.

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