Trump seems to have landed himself in a comic situation yet again and this time involving a toilet!
It seems that the President of the United States if America (US) requested art museum, Guggenheim, to allow him to borrow a painting by Vincent van Gogh for his and Melania Trump’s private living quarters.
However, the response he got from the curator, Nancy Spector, was hilarious, to say the least. The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: The museum could not accommodate a request to borrow a painting by Vincent van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters.
Instead, Spector wrote in an email that another piece was available, one that was nothing like Landscape With Snow, the 1888 van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles, France, with his dog.
The curator offered Trump an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet, an interactive work titled ‘America’ that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country.
For a year, the Guggenheim had exhibited ‘America,’ the creation of contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan in a public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for visitors to use.
The artist “would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan,” wrote Spector, who has been critical of Trump, in the email. “It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”
She further explained that the van Gogh painting was “prohibited from travel except for the rarest of occasions” and it was on its way to be exhibited at the Guggenheim’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, and then would return to New York “for the foreseeable future.”
“Fortuitously,” Spector wrote, Cattelan’s ‘America’ was available after having been “installed in one of our public restrooms for all to use in a wonderful act of generousity.”
She included with the email a photograph of the toilet “for your reference.”
“We are sorry not to be able to accommodate your original request,” the curator concluded, “but remain hopeful that this special offer may be of interest.”
Sarah Eaton, a Guggenheim spokeswoman, confirmed that Spector wrote the email on September 15 to Donna Hayashi Smith of the White House’s Office of the Curator. Spector, who has worked in various capacities at the museum for 29 years, was unavailable to talk about her offer, Eaton said.
The White House did not respond to inquiries about the matter.
It is common for presidents and first ladies to borrow major works of art to decorate the Oval Office, the first family’s residence and various rooms at the White House. The Smithsonian loaned the Kennedys a Eugène Delacroix painting, ‘The Smoker.’ The Obamas preferred abstract art, choosing works by Mark Rothko and Jasper Johns.
On the face of it, President Trump might appreciate an artist’s rendering of a gilded toilet, given his well-documented history of installing gold-plated fixtures in his residences, his properties and even his airplane. But the president is also a self-described germaphobe, and it’s an open question whether he would accept a previously used toilet, 18-karat or otherwise.
Cattelan’s “America” caused something of a sensation after the Guggenheim unveiled it in 2016, drawing more than a few headlines.
Spector, in blog posts and on social media, has made plain her political leanings and she is no fan of the president.