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Label: cattelan

Wednesday 04th May 2016Take that, Duchamp!

In one of the most famous modern art pieces of all time, Marcel Duchamp made a name for himself and secured his place in history. At the time it was arguably a stunt and wildly derided by those in the artistic establishment, but Duchamp didn't give a hoot what they thought - they were exactly the people he was trying to offend. The piece in question? A public urinal that had been ripped off a wall and submitted to a gallery, titled 'Fountain' and signed 'R. Mutt'. At the time, it was rejected, of course, but Duchamp's point was rather clear about his views of the state of the art world at the time. That was in 1917.

Fast-forward to 2016, and cross the Atlantic to the Guggenheim, New York City. Maurizio Cattelan, whose works have made him one of the most expensive and sought after living artists, has decided to come out of 'retirement'.During an interview on his reasons for a return to practice, he said,  “Actually, it’s even more of a torture not to work than to work.” Understandable, almost immediately so, for when you have a vision, not acting on it can be more painful than a root canal. .

Also immediately understandable is his first piece of work since his return, which is being installed in the Guggenheim this month. In the spirit of Duchamp but updated for the modern era, the piece is entitled 'Maurizio Cattelan: America' and instead of hanging in one of the gallery spaces, will be installed in a public washroom.

Because it is a working toilet made out of 18-karat gold.

99 years to the month after Duchamp failed to get his urinal installed in an exhibition, New York will finally get its artistic toilet.

Curiously enough, it's actually intended to be used for it's evident purpose, although it's hard to imagine that the lines for a public restroom can get any longer than they already are. “There’s the risk that people will think of it as a joke, maybe, but I don’t see it as a joke,” Cattelan explained, and commented that it really only becomes an artwork when it's actually being used by someone.

The commentaries on the state of modern America are obvious and rife with charged debate concerning wealth distribution and the unity of humanity, but it's also a hilarious jab at the self-importance of the rich. After all, everyone needs to use one.
 

Posted on May 04th 2016 on 05:52pm
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