The van Gogh painting was scheduled to be exhibited at the museum's sister institution in Spain. Plus, it was prohibited from traveling "except for the rarest of occasions,"
It was a polite rejection, but firm. So, instead of the van Gogh painting, the museum offered another piece. Nancy Spector, the curator, told the White House that a different installation was available, one that was unlike "Landscape With Snow," the 1888 van Gogh masterpiece featuring a man donning a black hat walking along a path in France, accompanied by his dog.
The alternative was an 18-karat solid gold toilet that was fully functional, an interactive installation by Maurizio Cattelan called "America," which critics call a symbolism of the country's embarrassment of riches.
"The equation between excrement and art has long been mined by neo-Marxist thinkers who question the relationship between labor and value," the museum writes, discussing its possible meanings. "Expanding upon this economic perspective, there is also the ever-increasing divide in our country between the wealthy and the poor that threatens the very stability of our culture."
The creator of the installation calls it "one-percent art for the ninety-nine percent."
"America" was exhibited for a year in a public comfort room located at the museum's fifth floor, and visitors could actually come in and treat it as they would a regular bathroom toilet. But the exhibit has concluded, and Spector says the sculpture is available "should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House," as The Washington Post reports.
"It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile, but we would provide all the instructions for its installation and care," said Spector.
The museum's offer was actually sent to the White House in September 2017, but Trump has yet to respond.
Asked why he offered his work to Trump and the White House, the artist simply said that "It's a very delicate subject."
What do you think? Should Trump use "America" as his toilet? As always, if you have any thoughts, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!