Talia Davidi curates a transformation of the AA’ Back Members’ Room… using AA Archives material…
Because you are gold
“Donald Trump is a controversial figure. He thrives on controversies, he enjoys them, they are
inseparable to his public persona. His taste is as controversial as his speeches – his devotion to
gold is the central component of his aesthetic credo – and the more extravagant the better.
However superficial they might seem, his aesthetics can and should be analysed, regardless of
one’s opinions of the new president elect.
Trump’s apartment, designed by Angelo Donghia in 1985, occupies the 3 uppermost floors of
Trump Tower in Manhattan. The apartment’s design is a tribute to Louis XIV, the “Sun-King”, a
French ruler known for his long-running centralized absolute monarchy, as well as for his
Versailles Palace. The triplex, which is as celebrated as it is mocked, is a golden period mansion
hidden behind Miesian curtain walls. Gold masks the material beneath it, the exterior of the
tower does not reveal its interior, and the 18th century inspired interior overlooks the city
which is a universal symbol of modernity. It was essentially designed as an extension of Trump’s
crafted public image, and the limitless budget exposes his greatest desires and aspirations.
Highlighting the royal references found in the apartment is probably stating the obvious, yet
when compared to his pre-election declarations a different image arises. Trump was elected on
the basis of his ‘new politics’ agenda, backed by an unleashed and direct performance, the perfect
opposition to Hillary Clinton. These ‘new politics’ performed by him do not quite align with his
displays of taste – 18th century royal inspiration, alongside Roman marble columns, French
ornaments coated with 24 carat gold and Italian Frescos – all European and out of date for about
This small spontaneous exhibition is not an attack on Trump, nor criticism of his taste. It is
merely an attempt to use the tools Trump has made available to us in order to evaluate the world
he wishes to create. Reality, unlike Trump’s world, where good and bad or black and white are
absolutes, is a gradient of greys. Gold, however, is forever.”
Curated by Talia Davidi
Photograph of Trump’s apartment reproduced by kind permission of photographer, Sam Horine.