John Waters Donates Art to Museum, In Exchange For Bathrooms Being Named in His Honor
What is the greatest honor a person can receive? Maybe a medal? A lifetime achievement award? For director John Waters, the genius behind trash masterpieces like Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble, there’s an even greater commendation: A public restroom named in his honor.
In perhaps the single greatest movie news story of the year, the Baltimore Sun reports that Waters has bequeathed his valuable art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art, in exchange for the honor of two bathrooms in the facility’s East Lobby being renamed “The John Waters Bathrooms.” According to Waters, the naming was his “idea right from the beginning”:
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.
The Sun doesn’t put a dollar amount on Waters’ art collection, but notes that it contains pieces by Andy Warhol, Diane Arbus, and more. Water credits the Baltimore Museum with first igniting his love of art as a child, when he took a trip there in the 1950s and bought a Joan Miró poster. The purchase perplexed his childhood friends. “That’s when I realized that art could provoke, shock, and cause trouble,” Waters told The Sun. “At that moment, I became a collector for life.”
It’s been more than 15 years since Waters directed a new movie; A Dirty Shame opened in theaters back in 2004. It’s also more than a decade since the most recent Broadway musical based on a John Waters film, 2008’s Cry-Baby. Since then, Waters has made a few scattered cameos, but has otherwise remained creatively pretty quiet, and at present he has no announced projects on the horizon. The best Waters fans can hope for, it seems, is a pilgrimage to the Baltimore Museum of Art, to pay tribute to the #1 auteur (or #2, if you feel the urge) in the manner he would prefer. The inaugural exhibition of Waters’ collection at the BMA will be held in 2025.
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