It’s not uncommon for the residents of the White House to borrow works of art from museums to decorate the Oval Office. The Obamas had paintings by Mark Rothko and Jasper Johns hanging in the Oval Office. The Kennedys borrowed a painting by Delacroix from the Smithsonian.
In keeping with this tradition, the Trumps requested to borrow a Van Gogh from the Guggenheim. Unfortunately, the painting they requested was unable to be loaned out at the time.
Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector did offer another piece of art that they would be willing to loan to the Trumps: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet. Titled America from artist Maurizio Cattelan, the pristine pooper’s previous purview was in the public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor for visitors to pollute.
Spector wrote in an email, obtained by the Washington Post, letting the Trumps know that the toilet was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House.”
She wrote that the artist “would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan. It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”
When the Washington Post reached the artist for comment, Cattelan said “It’s a very delicate subject.” When asked to explain why he offered the toilet to the Trumps he responded, “What’s the point of our life? Everything seems absurd until we die, and then it makes sense.”