The Golden Toilet – is museum taking the P*ss?

New York’s Guggenheim museum unveiled a solid gold toilet last week.  Whilst reading the story in the Guardian I was convinced this was some sort of April Fools joke.  But alas it wasn’t.

The fully functional, Solid Gold Toilet sits on the 4th floor of the museum with the only indication of the museum’s latest ‘exhibit’ being a security guard outside the toilet, a small plaque and a ‘no bag’ policy.  The practicalities of having a permanent security presence and stopping anyone taking a bag into the fully functional convenience may mean that at some point in the future the door will be replaced with a glass screen when the novelty wears off (and the costs are realised)?

In order to get it made, the museum sent two of its existing toilets over to Italy where the replica was made by the artist Maurizio Cattelan, who describes the piece as “100% art for the 99%”.  Cattelan made several casts of the various parts of the toilet which were then soldered together to make the perfect copy.


So what are the practicalities should any of my clients ask for such a thing?  Well if they can afford a Golden Loo I am not charging them enough!  The issues are all about security not cleaning – actually a Golden Toilet would be relatively easy to clean.  The toilet in question however will be cleaned every 15 minutes using a sanitizing wipe and steam cleaned at longer intervals to give a ‘hospital level of cleanliness’.  Anyone that has contracted a hospital acquired infection will be pleased!

However maybe I am reading too much into this – the piece is titled ‘America’.  I am no art connoisseur, but if this is a reference to America ‘going down the pan’ and the ongoing US Election campaigns then maybe Cattelan and the Guggenheim deserve more credit.  Let’s hope that when the Golden Throne is no longer newsworthy that the ‘Powers That Be’ melt it down and use the funds to build 1 million toilets in the third world.  That would touch many more lives than the 4th floor of a New York Museum.

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