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Guggenheim Museum Offered Used, Solid Gold Toilet To Trumps

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- When Donald and Melania Trump wanted to borrow a Vincent Van Gogh painting for their White House private quarters, the Guggenheim Museum said "no" and instead suggested a piece that could be used when they have to "go."

The Trumps had asked for Van Gogh's "Landscape With Snow," featuring a man and his dog.

But Curator Nancy Spector, who has been openly anti-Trump on Twitter, offered the first couple a pointedly satirical counter-offer: a $1 million 18-karat gold toilet bowl complete with installation instructions.

She emailed the White House Office of the Curator in September to say that the Trumps could borrow the toilet installation used by visitors in a museum restroom until mid-September.

The work, titled "America," is Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan's jab at the nation's greedier instincts.

Spector included a photograph in her email, saying, "We are sorry not to be able to accommodate your original request, but remain hopeful that this special offer may be of interest."

The toilet could be "a long-term loan," she wrote. "It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care."

The White House has not commented.

In a museum blog last year, the curator referred to Trump as "he of the eponymous gilded tower" — including Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue where he has a huge apartment and office. The president favors the color gold, plating bathroom fixtures in his various homes with the precious metal and redecorating the Oval Office with gold-hued drapes.

The curator said his presidency has been "marked by scandal and defined by the deliberate rollback of countless civil liberties, in addition to climate-change denial that puts our planet in peril."

The story was first reported by the Washington Post.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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