Last month, British police arrested a 66-year-old man due to allegations that he was an accomplice in a robbery in London. NPR, an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public, reported on their website that the thieves stole a solid gold toilet called 'America.'
The golden toilet was a work of art created by the 58-year-old Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. This installation was part of an exhibition at England’s Blenheim Palace. The theft was confirmed by the palace on Twitter.
|Photo Credit: Tom Lindboe/Courtesy of Blenheim Art Foundation (NPR.com)|
“We are saddened by this extraordinary event, but also relieved no-one was hurt,” the statement said. They also give their gratitude to their staff and to Thames Valley Police for their fast and brave reactions toward the incident. Meanwhile, the police believe that the group of thieves used “at least two vehicles” in order to finish the task.
Investigators said that the robbers broke in overnight and left the scene at around 4:50 a.m. The golden toilet was still connected to the plumbing of the building and, when it was removed, it caused extensive damage to Blenheim Palace, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
|Photo Credit: Patrick De Grijs (123RF)|
‘America’ was installed as one part of an exhibition by Cattelan. Before it was stolen, tourists and visitors could book three-minute appointments in order to use the golden toilet. “The fact that it is very welcoming, inviting for anyone to use, gets to the heart of a lot of questions around exclusivity in the art world and museums in particular,” said Nancy Spector, the curator who worked with Cattelan in his exhibition.
The toilet was also offered to be put in the White House in 2017 after the Trump administration asked to borrow Vincent van Gogh’s painting from the Guggenheim. Unfortunately, the requested work was unavailable, but ‘America’ was.