Legendary writer and filmmaker John Waters showcased his eponymous gender-neutral bathrooms at the Baltimore Art Museum in Maryland. John Waters is known as the “Daddy of Trash” for his skill in combining high and low culture. He is behind the iconic classics Hairspray (2007), Pink Flamingos (1972), and Crybaby (1990).
Many of his most famous projects are centered around the city of Baltimore, where he was born and raised. The new toilets are the first in the facility to be designed bathrooms in mind. With the words “John Waters / All Gender Toilets” in the lobby of the newly created seating area, made up of four separate walled rooms connected from floor to ceiling and accompanied by a shared sink, it is designed to maximize privacy.
John Waters said in a speech at the museum’s front desk that public toilets make everyone nervous. “They are unpredictable. They, too, are fueled by chance, like my favorite contemporary art. ” Together with fellow trans activist Elizabeth Coffey, who has appeared in several of John Waters’ films, they seized the opportunity to recognize the rights of transgender people.
In her comments, Coffey noted that despite the playfulness of the night, the museum’s involvement in redesigning the design is a serious issue that carries weight among its transgender constituents.
In August, John Waters was named a member of the museum’s board of trustees. When John Waters announced the gift of his private art collection, he also asked for the bathrooms to be renamed. According to him the request initially drew distrust from other trustees.
In November 2020, John Waters donated 372 works from his personal art collection to the museum. The gift included photographs and paperwork by artists such as Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, Lee Lozano, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and Christopher Wool.
Raised in Baltimore in the 1950s, John Waters was unlike any other child. He was obsessed with violence and gore, both real and on screen. With his strange counterculture friends as cast members, he began making silent 8mm and 16mm films in the mid-60s. He showed them in rented halls in a Baltimore church for an underground audience attracted by word of mouth and street flyer campaigns.
As his filmmaking became more polished and his topic more shocking, his audience grew, and his reviews in the Baltimore newspapers caused more and more outrage. By the early 1970s, he was making feature films, which he managed to show at midnight art theater screenings thanks to his tenacity.
Success came when Pink Flamingos (1972) – a deliberate exercise in ultra-bad taste – took off in 1973, undoubtedly aided by lead actor Devine’s infamous dog shit-eating scene. John Waters continued to make low-budget shocking films with his Dreamland repertory company until the Hollywood crossover came with Hairspray (1988), and while his films may now seem clean and professional these days, they retain Waters’ playfulness and reflect his life throughout life.