The W.H. asked the Guggenheim to “borrow” a Van Gogh painting for Trump’s private living quarters.
The curator denied the request, offering instead an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet — an interactive work entitled “America,” WaPo reports. https://t.co/FaZ1BwIAH4
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 25, 2018
The Guggenheim — it’s getting more and more noticed, you might have heard — is a tremendously classy museum, founded on a rich celebrity’s personal relationships with all the best people. Being courted by the Guggenheim, getting on their board, is a well-established marker of HAVING MADE IT in New York society. Donald J. Trump is *never* going to get that golden ticket… and if I know New Yorkers, he will never be allowed to forget this 18-carat insult…
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, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, 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’s alternative: 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.
But the exhibit was over and the toilet was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” Spector wrote in an email obtained by The Washington Post.
The artist “would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan,” wrote Spector, who has been critical of Trump. “It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”…
Cattelan, reached by phone in New York, referred questions about the toilet to the Guggenheim, saying with a chuckle, “It’s a very delicate subject.” Asked to explain the meaning of his creation and why he offered it to the Trumps, he said: “What’s the point of our life? Everything seems absurd until we die and then it makes sense.”
He declined to reveal the cost of the gold it took to create “America,” though it has been estimated to have been more than $1 million…
Trump is certainly more capable of appreciating a solid-gold toilet than a genuine Van Gogh. And, yes, I suspect that once the original was in his sweaty little hands, it would never have been seen again… except by those individuals lucky enough to visit some Russian oligarch’s dacha.