The bling bog that has all of Manhattan agog makes its golden debut at the Guggenheim

The Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan wants you to think one percent before you flush

America - a bog of gold
America - a bog of gold

America may have banished the British yoke - a triumph of people power over royalty that presidential candidates love to recall - but New York is currently all agog over a new golden throne that is about to make its public debut on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

This, however, will be a throne precisely of and for the people with no standing on ceremony for those wishing to use it. Roll up and take a tinkle (or more) in this very special, but fully functioning toilet half way up the helter-skelter ramp inside the famed Guggenheim Museum.

Golden does not do this particular bathroom fixture justice. It is solid gold. Even the seat is made of gold - remember to bend your knees if you need to lift it - and possibly the only disappointing feature is the cheap metal paper dispenser that is still attached to the loo’s wall. Even the well-funded Guggenheim could not stretch to turning that gold too.

You may also note that this is one of the very few public conveniences in the world with a guard permanently stationed outside. If that makes you nervous, you will have to forgo the experience. On account of it not being porcelain, it’s important to the museum that no one makes off with it. There is surely no more valuable a lav on the planet than this one.

There is a purpose to this very bling bog, which was created by the often satirical Italian sculptor Maurizio Cattelan. It is - of course - art that is meant to be social commentary also.

Maurizio Cattelan

For an explanation - the piece is called 'America' - please refer to the museum’s website. “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.”

“Cattelan replaced the toilet in this restroom with a fully functional replica cast in 18-karat (sic) gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the one per cent,” the website goes on.

So, indeed. As you ponder the otherwise entirely prosaic surroundings of your standard Guggenheim powder room also ask yourself how the Revolution has worked out for the one-time colony.

It’s reasonable to guess that with 'America' - the installation opens to the public oin Friday - Mr Cattelan may also be poking a little fun precisely at one of those presidential candidates. The one who might be tempted to put in an order for a golden throne all of his own. Only because it would match his hair.

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