When Donald Trump asked New York’s Guggenheim Museum if he could borrow a Van Gogh to place in the private living quarters of the White House, museum officials said no.
However, they did offer a fitting alternative: A solid gold toilet.
The Washington Post reported that the bizarre offer came up because White House decorators had hoped to cheer up the private living areas by displaying “Landscape With Snow,” an 1888 oil painting by Van Gogh.
This isn’t unusual. Other presidents have decorated their private spaces with classic works of art borrowed from great museum collections.
What is unusual is how museum curator Nancy Spector responded to the request.
First, she told the decorators that the painting is “prohibited from travel except for the rarest of occasions,” but was on its way to be exhibited at the Guggenheim’s museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Then after being exhibited, there, the plan was to return it to New York “for the foreseeable future.”
But Spector did offer an alternative she considered suitable: An interactive work titled “America” that is basically an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet.
Of course, some might argue the Trump White House is a step down from the previous place where it was exhibited: a public restroom on the museum’s fifth floor.
A person would have to be pretty flush to privately own the toilet art work: The gold alone is reportedly worth more than $1 million.
However, it would definitely fit in with Trump’s aesthetic, since he has decorated his private residences with the shiny metal.
Spector, who has been critical of Trump, made the offer in an email obtained by the Post, explaining that the gold toilet is “extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care.”
The generous offer was made in September, but the Trump White House has yet to respond to it or to media inquiries about it.
The work is the creation of contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan, and satirizes America’s love of excess wealth.
However, Cattelan is dodging direct comment about whether he wants the president to use his solid gold commode while tweeting at 3 a.m.
“It’s a very delicate subject,” he told the Post, when reporters asked him why he offered the artwork to the Trumps.
He added: “What’s the point of our life? Everything seems absurd until we die and then it makes sense.”
Meanwhile, Twitter users offered their thoughts on the matter.