Following in the footsteps of Marcel Duchamp and his urinal-turned-sculpture, Wim Delvoye has reinvigorated the age-old debate on what constitutes “art.” Delvoye attempts to democratize art, questioning notions of elitism, as well as forging unexpected links between popular traditions and social issues. The artist is perhaps best known for his provocative installation Cloaca, of which several versions exist since 2000. An elaborate man-made machine that replicates the human digestive system from ingestion through excretion, Cloaca features natural bodily functions that are propelled from the private to the public sphere in a direct challenge to the tacit protocols of the art world. Delvoye’s earlier work from the 1980s and 1990s is largely based on paradox and playfully blending old-world motifs with more accessible, contemporary subjects. In the “Gothic” works, for instance, the Cor-Ten steel bodies of life-size construction equipment (a familiar sight to New Yorkers) are superimposed with a Gothic filigree. Each object’s intrinsic role as a secular, utilitarian icon gives way to the divine associations of a medieval cathedral. The same holds true for Delvoye’s Gas Canisters—commonplace butane gas containers painted in the style of Delft porcelain—and Concrete Mixer (Wedgewood III), which is ornamented with the signature pattern of Wedgewood china and intricately carved in wood. The latter’s combination of functionality and decoration, modern-day technology and traditional craftsmanship is just as the 18th-century ceramicist Josiah Wedgewood would have intended.