White House Loan Request for Van Gogh Countered with Gold Toilet Offer

Maurizio Cattelan, America.
Maurizio Cattelan, America.
(Guggenheim Foundation)

The White House reportedly requested a loan of a Vincent van Gogh painting from the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Since Van Gogh’s 1888 Landscape With Snow could not be loaned, the museum responded that it could instead offer an 18 karat gold sculpture by Maurizio Cattelan, first reported the Washington Post. The piece is a functioning toilet used by over 100,000 people.

Titled America, the gold sculpture represents “a cipher for the excesses of affluence” and was created in response to Donald Trump's decision to run for the White House. It went on display, and was in use in a single unisex bathroom, at the Guggenheim last year.

America, explains the museum's description, is “like all of Cattelan’s most complex works...laden with possible meanings.” 

Cattelan described the piece “as 1 percent art for the 99 percent.”

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