- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2018

President Trump and the first lady asked the Guggenheim Museum if they could borrow a painting by Vincent van Gogh for their private living quarters, but the museum’s anti-Trump curator had a different idea: a used golden toilet.

In a Sept. 15 emailed response obtained by The Washington Post, museum curator Nancy Spector informed White House curator Donna Hayashi Smith that while Van Gogh’s 1888 painting “Landscape With Snow” was not available for loan, Maurizio Cattelan’s 18 karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet, titled “America” — a satirical piece aimed at the excess of wealth in the U.S. — was newly available.

“Fortuitously,” Ms. Spector wrote, the toilet was available after having been “installed in one of our public restrooms for all to use in a wonderful act of generosity.”

“We would be pleased to help facilitate this loan for the artist should the president and first lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” Ms. Spector wrote. “It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.

She included with the email a photograph of the toilet “for your reference.”



For a year, the Guggenheim exhibited “America” in a restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for public use, with a cleaning crew arriving every 15 minutes or so to wipe it down, The Post reported. It stands to reason that Mr. Trump, a self-admitted germaphobe, would never accept such an offer, though the White House has remained mum on the matter. It did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Ms. Spector has made her distaste for Mr. Trump known in past social media posts.

“This must be the first day of our revolution to take back our beloved country from hatred, racism, and intolerance,” she wrote on Instagram after the president’s election. “Don’t mourn, organize.”

In August, she wrote a blog post on the Guggenheim’s website titled, “Maurizio Cattelan’s Golden Toilet in the Time of Trump,” arguing that Mr. Trump’s presidency had already been marred by scandal and “defined by the deliberate rollback of countless civil liberties, in addition to climate-change denial that puts our planet in peril.”

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