When Melania Trump Asked to Borrow a Painting, Museum Offered a Literal Toilet


First lady Melania Trump reportedly asked a leading US museum to borrow a Van Gogh painting for the White House, but was instead offered a solid gold sculpture of a functioning toilet that had been inspired by his presidential bid and which was used by 100,000 visitors.

The White House apparently contacted the Guggenheim Museum in New York and asked for the loan of Van Gogh’s 1888 Landscape With Snow. The museum wrote back to say it could not loan the item but instead offered an 18 karat gold sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan of a functioning toilet.

The gold commode was available “should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House,” curator Nancy Spector wrote in an email response to the White House, obtained by the Post.

“We are sorry not to be able to accommodate your original request, but remain hopeful that this special offer may be of interest,” Spector added.

She included an illustration of the toilet, designed by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Cattelan “would like to offer it to the White House for a long-term loan,” Spector, a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, said in the email.

The museum’s online notes accompanying the sculpture, say that “like all of Cattelan’s most complex works, this sculpture is laden with possible meanings”. They also say the sculpture was inspired by Mr Trump’s decision to run for the White House. They say that more than 100,000 people made use of the toilet when it was on display.

Cattelan told The Post that the offer was “a very delicate subject.” When a reporter asked why he offered the toilet to the Trumps, Cattelan said: “What’s the point of our life? Everything seems absurd until we die and then it makes sense.”