Fox Host Demands Resignation of Guggenheim Curator Who Offered Trump a Golden Toilet

Was Nancy Spector's offer of Maurizio Cattelan's toilet a "sick burn" or an act of "extreme disrespect?"

Left, Stuart Varney. Photo Patrick McMullan. Right, Maurizio Cattelan's America (2017). Photo Olga e Zanni, via Flickr.
Left, Stuart Varney. Photo: Patrick McMullan. Right, Maurizio Cattelan's America (2017). Photo: Olga e Zanni, via Flickr.

Will the Guggenheim Museum pay a price for its already-famous rebuff of the White House’s request for an art loan? The controversy began when reports came out that President Trump had requested a Van Gogh landscape from the Guggenheim last year. The museum’s chief curator Nancy Spector made a cheeky counter-offer: it couldn’t provide the Van Gogh, but could loan America (2017), a solid gold toilet by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, instead.

Now, Fox Business host Stuart Varney has issued a demand for Spector’s resignation. In a Friday broadcast, he said that the Guggenheim’s offer “speaks volumes about the elites and how they look down on this presidency.” He characterized it as an act of “extreme disrespect.”

“This ‘work of art’ had been displayed in a public restroom at the Guggenheim and it had been used by thousands of people,” Varney said. “Miss Spector is one of the elites, and she detests this President,” he went on. “It’s not just a slap in the face for the Trumps; it is a slap in the face for the Presidency and to the country,” Varney said.

“If Ms. Spector truly believes in ‘our beloved country,’ as she puts it,” he said—referring to one of Spector’s Instagram posts from just after Trump’s election—”she should apologize and resign.”

The Guggenheim has declined several requests to comment further on the offer to the White House or its aftermath. The White House’s press office did not immediately respond to an email.

Spector’s offer has proven divisive within the art world. The award-winning Washington Post art critic Philip Kennicott not only called the move as a “sick burn,” he called it a work of art in itself.

The Art Newspaper‘s Georgina Adam, on the other hand, wrote that Spector was “descending to Trump’s puerile level,” equating her email with one of Trump’s tweets. She saw Varney’s reaction coming, almost in his exact words, predicting that the offer would provide “a gift to those who already castigate the liberal, metropolitan elite as being sneering and out of touch with the ordinary person.”

While Varney is a proud member of the right, past broadcasts have criticized the President and his staffers, calling out “embarrassing chaos” and denouncing former press rep Anthony Scaramucci’s obscene language in a phone call with a New Yorker reporter.

The Guggenheim was also in the eye of another storm recently, when its recent exhibition “Art and China After 1989: Theater of The World” provoked outrage for including artworks that some described as cruel to animals. After reportedly receiving death threats, the museum pulled three embattled works from the exhibition before it opened.

See some of the Twitter outrage surrounding the latest scandal below.

 


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