maurizio cattelan has installed an 18-karat gold, fully functional toilet at new york’s guggenheim museum. 
as part of an ongoing project, opening on september 16th titled ‘america’, cattelan has replaced a restroom toilet on the building’s fifth floor with a working replica cast in gold, making an extravagant luxury product available to the public. visitors are permitted to individually and privately use the fixture, allowing for an unprecedented encounter of intimacy with the artwork. since its opening, hundreds of visitors have lined up in the guggenheim’s halls to experience and engage with the piece — whether taking pictures of it, or on it, or using it as nature intended. 

maurizio cattelan 18-karat gold toilet
visitors are permitted to individually and privately use the fixture, allowing for an experience of intimacy
(above and main) image by kris mckay



the participatory nature of the guggenheim’s gold toilet both acts as a nod to the excesses of the art market, and evokes the american dream of opportunity for all. cattelan — no stranger to provocative art making — previously suspended virtually every work he ever made from the oculus of the guggenheim’s rotunda, following which he announced his retirement. five years later, the italian artist has returned from this self-imposed exile to produce this ongoing project at the museum.