Legendary writer and filmmaker John Waters showed off his gender-neutral gay bathrooms at the Baltimore Museum of Art in Maryland on Wednesday.
Waters, known by his nickname the Pope of Waste for his ability to merge high and low culture, is the source of the cult classics Hair spray (2007), Pink flamingos (1972), and Cry baby (1990). Many of his most notorious projects center around the city of Baltimore, where he was born and raised.
The new washrooms are the facility’s first designed to be gender-neutral. With the entry reading, “The John Waters Restrooms / All Gender”, the design of the new rest area, which consists of four private rooms on the walls, with doors to the bathroom. Floor to ceiling and accompanied by a common sink, is intended to maximize privacy.
“Public restrooms make everyone nervous,” Walters said in a speech at the museum reception for the unveiling. “They are unpredictable. They are also fueled by accidents, just like my favorite contemporary art.
Along with her collaborator, trans activist Elizabeth Coffey, who has been a recurring figure in several Waters films, the two took the opportunity to recognize trans rights. Coffey noted in his remarks that despite the night’s playfulness, the museum’s role in the redesign is serious business that carries weight with its transgender constituents.
Waters was appointed to the museum’s board in August. When he announced the donation of his private art collection last fall, he also called for the bathrooms to be renamed, a request he said was initially met with disbelief by others. administrators. In November 2020, Waters donated 372 works from his personal art collection to the museum. The giveaway included photographs and works on paper by Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Lee Lozano, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and Christopher Wool.