The lavish latrine was previously displayed in the Guggenheim Museum
Never has one toilet made such a stink. A solid 18-karat-gold commode created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan made headlines when it was first installed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Then the museum offered the toilet to Donald Trump after declining his request to borrow Vincent Van Gogh’s Landscape with Snow. And now this throne will have a new home.
The unique piece of art titled America will soon reside at Winston Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace, according to CNN. Located near Oxford, the home is currently the Duke of Marlborough’s residence as well as a museum. The toilet is set to be displayed in a room neighboring the one where the former prime minister was born.
“I am constantly inspired by the past and how nothing has really changed, so to show my work at Blenheim Palace—a place full of history and humanity—is significant to me,” Cattelan said in a statement.
The operational lavatory was created as a commentary on the excess wealth found in the U.S. and the disparity between classes. “The new work makes available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the one percent,” reads a press release from the Guggenheim. “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 an artwork.
The release continued, “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.”
Edward Spencer-Churchill, the current Duke of Marlborough’s half-brother and founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, is excited about the addition and stands behind its meaning. “His work can make us laugh and quake in turn, with its acerbic comments on the world we live in,” he says in a statement. “I believe that his wry wit, stoicism, and fantastical vision are exactly what we need in these times of global flux and uncertainty.”
The exhibition is set to run from September 12 to October 27.