The Best Art Exhibitions To Catch This Autumn

1 week agoWords by Mr Oli Stratford

Maurizio Cattelan, “America”, 2016. Installation view at the Guggenheim Museum 2016. © Maurizio Cattelan. Photograph by Jacopo Zotti, courtesy of Blenheim Palace

There is much to celebrate about the upcoming raft of art exhibitions this autumn, not least Mr Maurizio Cattelan’s solo show at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire (12 September – 27 October). A fine satirical artist (although “art worker” is his preferred nomenclature), Mr Cattelan has not staged a show in the UK for 20 years, and the Blenheim exhibition ought to provide ample opportunity for audiences to reacquaint themselves with his greatest hits. Let’s face it, though, it’s going to be all about the golden toilet.

“America (2016)” is a fully functioning, 18-carat solid gold crapper, originally commissioned to sit pretty in the toilets of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York. Dubbed by Mr Cattelan as representing “one per cent art for the 99 per cent”, America achieved notoriety when Guggenheim curator Ms Nancy Spector rejected a White House request to procure a Van Gogh for the living quarters of President Donald Trump. Instead, Ms Spector offered the long-term loan of Mr Cattelan’s artwork “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House” with the complimentary provision of “all the instructions for its installation and care”. The offer was rejected. Excitingly, however, the Blenheim show will feature a fully plumbed-in “America”, which will offer visitors the opportunity to evacuate into the very toilet that proved too rich for the no doubt indefatigable bowels of President Trump.

Tim Walker, “Karen Elson, Sgaire Wood & James Crewe”, London, 2018. © Tim Walker Studio. Photograph courtesy of The Victoria and Albert Museum, London