Hillary Clinton paid a visit to an art exhibition in Venice, Italy, that involved her sitting at a mock Resolute Desk and reading copies of her now-infamous emails.
Images cropped up online Wednesday showing the 2016 Democratic nominee for president in Despar Teatro Italia, which is currently hosting a solo exhibition by the artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith called “HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails.”
Goldsmith told HuffPost via email that Clinton’s visit “was a surprise,” while curator Francesco Urbano Ragazzi said organizers thought the possibility of her visiting was a joke.
“Someone close to Mrs. Clinton contacted us very informally a few days before her visit. We realized that it wasn’t a joke only when we saw the security service inside the exhibition space at 9 am on Tuesday,” they told HuffPost via email.
Goldsmith’s exhibition makes public “for the first time in printed format” some 60,000 pages of Clinton’s emails, which, per WikiLeaks, “were sent from the domain clintonemail.com between 2009 and 2013,” according to the description from exhibit co-organizer Zuecca Projects.
Then-candidate Donald Trump turned the emails, which were stored on a private server while Clinton was secretary of state, into rallying cry during the 2016 election.
The documents are being displayed in an environment that “converts in a lo-fi format some of the furnishings of the Oval Office in the White House,” the description says.
“Everybody was very excited [during Clinton’s visit],” Urbano Ragazzi said. “I think the scene was so extraordinary that many customers believed that she was just a lookalike at first.”
The description explains that “the pile of papers is rather unimpressive, rebutting Trump’s efforts to make them monumental.”
“In this way, Goldsmith creates an anti-monument to the folly of Trump’s heinous smear campaign against Clinton,” it concludes.
The artist shared on Twitter that Clinton read her emails for an hour and, per a translation from an Italian news outlet, said: “This exhibition is further proof that nothing wrong or controversial can be found on these emails. It makes them accessible to everyone and allows everyone to read them.”
He also recalled Clinton saying, as an aside, to Urbano Ragazzi: “They are just so boring.”
Goldsmith told HuffPost that he “hoped that she would see it as an act of tribute and love,” which he believes she did.
Urbano Ragazzi added that organizers wanted Clinton to “understand the intentions” of the project.
“In the digital age, making these documents available to everyone in a touchable format is a way to focus on something concrete in order to exit the impalpable toxicity of ideological narratives,” they said, before adding: “The exhibition is a way to allude to an alternative world that will never exist. We are happy that the real Hillary has been part of this image full of possibilities.”
The exhibition, which began in May, runs until Nov. 24. It is curated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi and organized by The Internet Saga and Zuecca Projects with collaboration and support from Circuitozero, The Bauers, NERO and Despar Aspiag Service.
Clinton did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment, but the former senator tweeted some thoughts about the whole thing on Thursday:
This article has been updated with Clinton’s tweet.