A fully-functioning 18-Karat gold toilet was installed by Italian artist and sculptor Maurizio Cattelan at the Guggenheim in New York as part of an exhibition called “America”. 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.

The toilet is installed in the museum’s fourth floor restroom, and Cattelan “intends visitors to use the toilet just as they would any other facility in the building,” the museum said.

 cattelan-18-karat-gold-toilet-guggenheim-2 cattelan-18-karat-gold-toilet-guggenheim-3 cattelan-18-karat-gold-toilet-guggenheim-4

all images © Kris McKay | courtesy of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation