Maurizio Cattelan takes over Blenheim Palace with his provocative and immersive art show

But its star piece – a golden toilet – has been stolen

Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan unveiled his first UK solo show in 20 years inside the Baroque halls of Blenheim Palace last week, including his famous 18-carat-gold toilet – which was promptly stolen by a gang of thieves.

The fully functioning artwork, titled America and valued at $6m, was plumbed into the palace’s pipework, creating significant water damage when it was stolen by a gang of thieves, who thwarted the building’s sophisticated security system.

Investigations by the police are ongoing, but the exhibition has reopened to the public this week – with Cattelan’s provocative and ‘prankster’ artworks responding to the building’s opulent architecture dark and unexpected ways.

Among them is a sculpture of Hitler praying on his knees inside the palace’s chapel, and a realistic model of Pope John Paul II being hit by a meteorite in one of its stately rooms. Elsewhere, one of the grand ceiling chandeliers has been swapped out for a taxidermied horse in the gallery, and a giant sculpture of Pinocchio floats, face down, in one of the garden’s water fountains.

The show runs until 27 October 2019.

Maurizio Cattelan, 'Novecento', 1997. Photography: Rosella Degori
Maurizio Cattelan, ‘Novecento’, 1997. Photography: Rosella Degori
Maurizio Cattelan, 'Untitled', 2001. Photography: Rosella Degori
Maurizio Cattelan, ‘Untitled’, 2001. Photography: Rosella Degori
Maurizio Cattelan, 'Ego', 2001. Photography: Rosella Degori
Maurizio Cattelan, ‘Ego’, 2019. Photography: Rosella Degori
Maurizio Cattelan, 'Daddy, Daddy', 2019. Photography: Rosella Degori
Maurizio Cattelan, ‘Daddy, Daddy’, 2019. Photography: Rosella Degori

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