UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — Forget porcelain thrones – an 18-karat gold toilet in a restroom at one of the city’s most notable art institutions is set to open this week.
The gold toilet is fully functional and will be open to the public in more than just a viewing capacity on the Guggenheim’s fourth floor.
“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,” according to the museum’s website.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan created the work, titled ‘America.’ He had announced his retirement in 2011, but came back to sculpt the gold toilet.
“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,” according to the museum’s website.
A guard will be posted outside the restroom, the New Yorker reported. Special wipes will be used to clean the gold toilet every 15 minutes.