Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s chief curator, had got a request from the White House asking for a loan of Vincent van Gogh's 1888 Landscape with Snow. Instead of accommodating the request, she made a counteroffer to President Trump with something completely different from the Van Gogh's painting — a fully functioning, 18-karat solid gold toilet.
Vincent van Gogh's Landscape with Snow
Donald Trump and Melania Trump
It is an interactive work titled America created by contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan. It was exhibited for nearly a year at the Guggenheim Museum since September 15, 2016. Installed in a public restroom on the museum's fifth floor for visitors to use, this work satirizes the ever-increasing divide in the country between the wealthy and the poor.
Maurizio Cattelan's America
When the gold toilet was displayed in the museum, “More than one hundred thousand people had waited patiently in line for the opportunity to commune with art and with nature,” Spector wrote in a Guggenheim blog post last year. The gold toilet was cleaned every 15 minutes by a crew using specially chosen wipes.
Cattelan declined to reveal the cost of making the solid gold toilet but it has been estimated to have been more than US$1 million.
Nancy Spector, who has worked in various capacities at the museum for 29 years, is known for being critical of Trump. She replied the White House’s Office of the Curator, "Should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House, the artist would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan”. She added, “It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”
Inside Trump's Manhattan mansion
The White House has not responded to inquiries about the matter. Nonetheless, many think that President Trump might appreciate this gilded toilet, given his past records of installing gold-plated fixtures in his residences and properties.