This week, the White House reached out to the Guggenheim museum requesting to borrow one of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings so it can adorn the private living quarters of President Donald Trump. However, the museum declined and offered the president an alternative artwork, an interactive, solid golden toilet called “America.”
The unusual offer came after Trump’s White House decorators contacted the museum to borrow “Landscape With Snow,” an oil painting by Van Gogh made in 1888. The painting depicts a snow-covered countryside with a man and his dog walking along a path.
In response, Guggenheim’s curator Nancy Spector politely declined the request, telling the decorators that the painting is “prohibited from travel except for the rarest of occasions.”
She also told the White House that the painting was on its way to be exhibited at Guggenheim’s museum in Bilbao, Spain, and will not return to New York for the foreseeable future.
However, the museum offered the decorators a functional toilet made of solid gold. The 18-karat artwork was created by artist Maurizio Cattelan and was named “America,” as a representation of the nation’s wealth and excess.
The artwork has been installed in a public bathroom on the fifth floor of the Guggenheim for museum visitors to use.
Spector, who is known to be a critic of Trump, also said that the artwork is “extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.” The golden toilet is estimated to be have costed around $1 million to make.
The White House has yet to respond to the Guggenheim’s offer, which was made back in September.
When asked about the prospect of his artwork being used by the president during his early morning Twitter tirades, Cattelan dodged the question, but he offered an artist’s take on life. “What’s the point of our life?” said the artist. “Everything seems absurd until we die and then it makes sense.”