A Tale of Two Toilets
At first glance, there’s not much that connects Maurizio Cattelan’s artwork America with a Bronze Age latrine discovered in rural Greece. Both are toilets, but were constructed four thousand years apart, installed at opposite ends of Europe, and couldn’t look more different. The Greek loo is a simple affair constructed from stone and ceramics, whilst Cattelan’s sculptural toilet is made from solid gold. Nonetheless, both are connected by their ties to Oxford, as well as through tales of plunder where the theft itself proved less unsettling than what was left behind. These stories can reveal a surprising amount about changing narratives of ‘Western’ history and civilisation. Maybe it is possible to turn sh*t into (intellectual) gold after all?
This process begins at Knossos, a vast pal