About Ezra Shales at the Massachusetts College of Art and Designs website.

The cover of Sanitary Pottery magazine, July 1915.
The cover of Sanitary Pottery magazine, July 1915.

Abstract

The toilet toggles between a commonplace design taken for granted and an exorbitant luxury which people fetishize but do not discuss—a totem of modernization and yet a taboo topic of public conversation. It remains the paragon in histories of conceptual art (Duchamp) and yet is an example of ‘virtual investment’ avant-la-lettre, with very little scholarship actually accounting for its physical and material properties. Is this commodity still an emblem of modernization and white walled aesthetics, or a hundred-year old technological plateau that reveals the West’s inability to realize industrialization that is truly environmentally progressive? And where lies the apt disciplinary ‘home’ to pursue the discourse of the toilet?