A Royal Flush? Toilet and Bathroom Inspired Artworks

More and more bathroom-inspired art have been cropping up in areas beyond powder rooms. We have installations of mink-lined bath tubs propped against a canvass, be-jeweled toilet bowls, and other works of art that some snobbier member of the art society would call a fascinating metaphor of civilization’s decline. But to the rest of us, we know the truth. They’re bathroom stuff someone didn’t want to throw away and decided to mess with. Outside of the snarky comments, this toilet theme art seems to be catching on, even drawing visitors as some form of tourist attraction.

Toilet-inspired art

Taipei’s Modern Toilet restaurant is a toilet-themed diner inspired by a Japanese cartoon. Customers sit on real toilet bowls and mack on food served in miniature plastic toilet bowls. Toilet rolls are available above their heads should they need to wipe. The place attracts scores of young people, but not the elderly because they are less tolerant of toilet humor. In the US, Patent#US6983493 introduces the Retractable Toilet Tabletop, which allows people on the run to take care of their business while snacking on a BLT. Well, not too many are sure if this will fly but let’s it should get an A for effort.

Barney Smith’s art museum

Barney Smith is a plumber turned artist who welcomes various tourists to his own art museum in San Antonio every year. Although the art museum has no bathroom, Barney Smith does have hundreds of artfully decorated toilet lids. Miss America gets the best seat in the house, since she is on one of Smith’s signature lids. Other lids feature a band of dead bugs with a ‘Do not Disturb’ sign, a collection of dog tags, and swizzle sticks. According to Barney, he’s lucky enough to still have connections in the plumbing industry to get all the free toilet seats, which haven’t been sold. People who visit the museum are treated to a variety of over 600 toilet seat designs. Perhaps the next big thing for this unique artist is decorative bath tubs.

It’s not clear at the moment if this trend will progress. Like last year’s mouth-shaped urinals, the intent may just be to shock the prudish till it dies down after awhile. What we can expect is for toilet art to extend beyond bathrooms all over the world and make it to the list of the odd or weird.

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