WASHINGTON — When President Donald Trump’s White House emailed the Guggenheim Museum in New York City in September and asked to borrow Vincent Van Gogh’s 1888 painting “Landscape with Snow,” the curator from the famed institution had a counteroffer: A fully functional 18-karat gold toilet.
A Guggenheim spokeswoman confirmed to The Washington Post that Donna Hayashi Smith of the White House’s Office of the Curator emailed Nancy Spector, curator at the Guggenheim, in September 2017 and asked if the White House could borrow Van Gogh’s painting for the President’s official residence.
In the email, published by the Post, Spector responded with a polite no, but offered instead a fully functional, solid 18-karat gold toilet titled “America.” The toilet, which was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, was part of an interactive art exhibit that the Guggenheim hosted for a year until around the same time the White House emailed the museum.
The exhibit, which was set up in what appeared to be a standard bathroom on the museum’s fifth floor, invited museum goers to use the art.
The museum, through a spokesperson, declined to comment to CNN.
Spector wrote in the email that the toilet was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House.”