Tue, 26 Jan 2021

Golden 'Throne' Stolen from British Palace

Voice of America
16 Sep 2019, 16:05 GMT+10

A solid-gold toilet that was part of an art exhibit has been stolen from the birthplace and home of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The 18-carat toilet, titled "America" was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. It was part of a larger exhibit of Cattelan's work at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England.

"At first, when they woke me up this morning with the news," Cattelan said in an email to The New York Times, "I thought it was a prank: Who's so stupid to steal a toilet? I had forgotten for a second that it was made out of gold."

The theft caused "significant damage and flooding'' since it had been attached to the building's plumbing so it could actually be used by visitors.

A 66-year-old man has been arrested but authorities have neither named him nor charged him

The toilet was previously on display at New York's Guggenheim Museum where "more than 100,000 people have waited patiently in line for the opportunity to commune with art and with nature" museum officials said at the time.

Last year, the chief curator at the Guggenheim offered to lend the golden toilet to U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump when they asked to borrow a Van Gogh painting for their private White House quarters.

Cattelan has said the toilet is meant to be a satirical piece on excess wealth. "Whatever you eat, a $200 lunch or a $2 hot dog, the results are the same, toilet-wise,'' he has said.

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