” [I] would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan… I don’t want to be rude, I have to go”
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan offered to loan his Guggenheim Museum fully functioning solid gold toilet “America” as an alternative to Trump’s request to borrow Van Gogh’s painting “Landscape with Snow“. The offer was brokered through curator Nancy Specter.
“the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: The museum could not accommodate a request to “borrow” a painting by Vincent Van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters.
Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, one that was nothing like “Landscape With Snow,” the lovely 1888 Van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles, France, with his dog.
The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country. Source/More
Flush with history
Fountain is a 1917 work produced by Marcel Duchamp. The piece was a porcelain urinal, which was signed “R.Mutt” and titled Fountain. Submitted for the exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists, in 1917, the first annual exhibition by the Society to be staged at The Grand Central Palace in New York,
Fountain was rejected by the committee, even though the rules stated that all works would be accepted from artists who paid the fee.
Fountain was displayed and photographed at Alfred Stieglitz’s studio, and the photo published in The Blind Man, but the original has been lost. The work is regarded by art historians and theorists of the avant-garde, such as Peter Bürger, as a major landmark in 20th-century art. Seventeen replicas commissioned by Duchamp in the 1960s now exist source
“There’s the risk that people will think of it as a joke, maybe, but I don’t see it as a joke,” said Cattelan. “I was born in a condition where I was — how do you say? — forced to think about that. It’s not my job to tell people what a work means. But
I think people might see meaning in this piece.”
The museum, however, has been more forward in its presentation of the piece explaining that the work
“makes available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent.”