What a Week!: Jan. 24-30

Guggenheim offers Trump gold toilet; Frenchies go cuckoo for Nutella; Unpacking the Grammys

click to enlarge Maurizio Cattelan’s “America” - Photo: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Photo: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Maurizio Cattelan’s “America”


Guggenheim Offers Trump Gold Toilet

It’s not uncommon for U.S. presidents to borrow famous pieces of art from museums and galleries to display around the White House. New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art loaned two Edward Hopper works during the Obama years, which were displayed in the Oval Office. So the Trumps followed suit, requesting Vincent van Gogh’s “Landscape With Snow” from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to hang in their living quarters. They were denied — the painting is traveling to Spain for an exhibition. The Guggenheim’s chief curator and shade queen Nancy Spector wrote to the White House explaining that while she could not accommodate the request, she could offer another piece: contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan’s interactive sculpture, “America,” a fully functioning 18-karat gold toilet. The gaudy pisser (talking ’bout the potty, not the president) has been on display at the Guggenheim for a year— in the museum’s public restroom, no less — but now it’s available for loan. Spector included a photo of the toilet, suggesting the Trumps might be interested in installing that instead. No word on the White House’s response. It’d definitely be a tough call for Trump: On one hand, he’s the IRL version of Goldmember from Austin Powers, but the germophobe in him would probably be rightly grossed out by a toilet used by 100,000 strangers. Sick burn, Nancy Spector!

Frenchies Go Cuckoo for Nutella

From savage to sauvage (that’s French for “wild;” keep up, plebs): The French are inherently cooler than Americans. They can judge us for our love of junk food and holiday shopping stampedes, but it turns out they might not be any better than us garbage people. One French supermarket chain slashed the price of Nutella on Thursday and there were mobs! Scenes rivaling Black Friday during the Tickle-Me-Elmo era showed swarms of folks ransacking displays of the chocolate-hazelnut spread. At 70 percent off, containers that typically went for ˇ4.5 were just ˇ1.41. Some brawls even resulted in minor injuries. Now that’s a supermarket sweep! Perhaps American culture still has international influence after all.

Unpacking the Grammys

The 60th annual Grammy Awards took place in New York City Sunday, and if you were playing a drinking game where you took a shot every time someone called it “music’s biggest night,” you are probably still in the hospital. Get well soon!

It felt like the Grammys were six hours long, included 50 performances and only featured nine actual awards. OK, those first two were slightly exaggerated, but 75 categories were announced before the broadcast, leaving just nine for the actual show. I don’t want to sit through a 10-hour show any more than any other casual home viewer, but it sure seems like if you weren’t one of a handful of mostly mainstream, mega-popular artists, you might as well have stayed home! One notable win you might have missed: Cincinnati-bred rockers The National took home their first Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. Nice job!

Here are some hot takes:

• Lil Uzi Vert wore raver pants and a messenger bag, looking like a kid who’d get questioned by a mall cop in 1997 for acting suspicious in a Hot Topic. He served IDAGF realness on the red carpet, giving amazingly awkward interviews: When asked the ubiquitous “What’s next?” he responded, “Waking up, eating some Pop-Tarts.”

• Ugh. Joy Villa is back. The “singer/songwriter” who was not nominated wore a garish Claire’s sales rack tiara and white dress painted to depict a fetus in a rainbow womb. Her purse, also apparently hand-painted by a small child or perhaps fetus, read “Choose Life.” She gained notoriety last year after wearing a dress emblazoned with “Make America Great Again” and Trump’s name.

• Kendrick Lamar opened the show with a politically charged performance that included dancing soldiers, Dave Chappelle interludes and a surprise U2 appearance. Kendrick was a big winner that night with five awards.

• Both Lady Gaga and Pink delivered separate stripped-down versions of their recent hits without any of the crazy costumes, acrobatics or elaborate sets they’re known for, which is fine for their songs’ messages, but I CAME TO BE ENTERTAINED.

• Winner of Earworm of the Year? “DES. PA. CITO.” J/K. While Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee performed their banger, they did not walk away with a trophy.

• Sting and Shaggy — yes, as in “It Wasn’t Me” — took the stage together and are working on a joint album. So, this is what’s happening in the year 2018.

• A pre-recorded sketch found host James Corden auditioning celebrities to narrate the audio version of Fire and Fury, musing on how it could be a Grammy nominee next year. Hillary Clinton made an appearance. Corden also rudely teased that Barack Obama might be coming onstage before revealing it was actually Recording Academy president Neil Portnow. RUDE.

• Throughout the night, presenters and performers spoke on behalf of gender equality and Time’s Up, DACA and immigrants, suicide prevention and the victims of recent concert violence.

• SZA was the real MVP as the most nominated woman of the night, and she killed her live “Broken Clocks” set, but she left empty-handed. Best New Artist went to Alessia Cara, the only woman to bring home a trophy during the live show. (Side eye)

• Bruno Mars arguably had the best night of all, performing his new ’90s-inspired single “Finesse” with Cardi B and nabbing all six awards he was nominated for. Does that mean we can retire “24K Magic” and “That’s What I Like?” Please?

• Elton John and Miley Cyrus (why?) teamed up for “Tiny Dancer.” Elton recently announced his retirement, with his farewell tour making a stop in Cincinnati next February — as in 2019. (Will we all even still be here?)

• Rihanna completely owned the stage during a performance of “Wild Thoughts,” singing live and dancing like a goddess. Has she ever looked better?

• Speaking of goddesses, where was Beyoncé? Husband Jay-Z was nominated for eight Grammys (but walked away with none), but he appeared alone at the show’s start. Thankfully she showed up fashionably late, and with Blue Ivy! The Carters’ first-born should be up for an Oscar in a new category I propose, Best Performance in an Audience. She sternly shushed both of her parents as they were applauding, insisting that they stop clapping. #OprahBlueIvy2020


Contact T.C. Britton: [email protected] 



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