Filmmaker John Waters Bequeaths Art Collection to Hometown Museum, Will Have Bathrooms Named After Him

To say your prayers to the Pope of Trash, just flush. The Baltimore Museum of Art announced five new board trustees, among them filmmaker, artist, and crap connoisseur John Waters, who will have a bathroom named after him at the museum.

Waters is best known for his work as a director of avant-garde, low-budget films. His 1972 exploitation comedy Pink Flamingos cemented his place in pop culture history as a provocateur when star Divine ate a handful of dog poop on camera. Despite being Lord of the Lowbrow, Waters is a long-time collector of art, amassing hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and more over the years.

Waters bequeathed 375 artworks and objects from his personal fine-art collection to the museum late last year. The items are receivable upon his death, with the stipulation that the museum name its east lobby bathrooms after him. The domed room in the European art galleries will also be renamed the John Waters Rotunda, though that’s not quite as fun as a John Waters Water Closet. The museum hosted a retrospective of Waters’ work in 2018, including his films, writing, acting, sculpture, photography, and more.

The Intersection of Fine Art and Filth

In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Waters explained the reasons for his unusual request.

“They thought I was kidding and I said, ‘No, I’m serious.’ It’s in the spirit of the artwork I collect, which has a sense of humor and is confrontational and minimalist and which makes people crazy.”

He then speculated about the possibility of works from his collection being displayed in the newly christened John Waters Restrooms.

“I have a piece by Tony Tasset called I peed in my pants,” he said. “There’s Wedged Lump by Mike Kelley that looks exactly like a giant turd. I also have George Stoll’s chiffon toilet paper. I have a lot of art that would work in a bathroom.”

Along with Waters, Michael Ealy, Nupur Parekh Flynn, Lori N. Johnson, and Anne L. Stone were announced to join the board trustees. While the last three are best known for their contributions to the art world, fans will recognize Ealy as the star of the short-lived sci-fi series Almost Human. The five will join a 36 member board tasked with overseeing the museum’s programs and initiatives.

“I am very excited to welcome the five new trustees, whose variety of skills and experiences across the fields of art, education, entertainment, marketing, and management will assist us as we continue to find ways to better serve our community and fulfill the Baltimore Museum of Art’s mission,” board chair Clair Zamoiski Segal said in a statement. “I have no doubt that this new cohort of trustees will enhance the museum’s governance and leadership, and I look forward to sharing their commitment and passion for the BMA’s vision with the rest of the board.”

If that vision includes toilet humor, then Waters is sure to be on board with the board.

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