Donald Trump asked the Guggenheim for a Van Gogh, but they offered a gold toilet
Another day, another too-crazy-to-be-true story from Donald Trump’s White House. But this one isn’t about the government shutdown or Trump officials fat-shaming journalists. This story concerns the White House decor. Specifically, the art — or lack of art — hanging on the White House walls. The latest? When Donald Trump asked the Guggenheim Museum to borrow a Van Gogh painting, they turned down his request. And offered him a gold toilet instead.
Yes, really. According to an email obtained by The Washington Post, a representative from the White House emailed Nancy Spector about borrowing Van Gogh’s “Landscape in the Snow.” Donald Trump wanted to hang the work of art in his private quarters at the White House. Spector, the Guggenheim Museum’s curator and Artistic Director, penned a response that managed to be both scathing and polite. She denied Trump’s request to borrow the Van Gogh, explaining that the painting has strict travel restrictions. But Spector didn’t want to leave the president empty-handed. So offered an alternate solution: Would Donald Trump be interested in borrowing a gold toilet?
“Fortuitously, a marvelous work by the celebrated contemporary Italian artist, Maurizio Cattelan, is coming off view today after a year’s installation at the Guggenheim, and he would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan. It is a solid, 18k gold toilet that was installed in one of our public restrooms for all to use in a wonderful act of generosity,” Spector’s email to the White House read. “The work beautifully channels the history of 20th-century avant-garde art by referencing Marcel Duchamp’s famous urinal of 1917. 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.”
Here’s “Landscape in the Snow,” the Van Gogh painting that Donald Trump initially requested.
And here’s the gold toilet that Nancy Spector offered him instead.
Like Spector’s email stated, the gold toilet was installed in one of the Guggenheim museum’s gender-neutral restrooms for all patrons to use.
Cattelan’s gold toilet is fittingly titled “America,” so you can’t blame Spector for the compromise.
Seems like a fit, no? But this email exchange happened in September 2017, so we’re guessing that Trump denied this golden opportunity.