A Tampa heavy metal musician and artist will soon see a toilet he sculpted to look like Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich displayed for thousands of visitors at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Denmark.
This week, the artist known as Prince Midnight donated the toilet to Ripley Entertainment, headquartered in Orlando. A spokesperson said the toilet is now in Ripley’s warehouse in Central Florida and will soon be shipped to the Ripley’s “odditorium” in Copenhagen to go on permanent display.
The toilet works. Last year, it enjoyed a brief installment in the restroom of Brass Mug, a Tampa bar and music venue.
Ripley’s operates dozens of museums around the world and is known for a vast collection of oddities and memorabilia. In 2016, the company paid $4.8 million for the glittery dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as she serenaded President John F. Kennedy on his birthday.
Midnight became known to Ripley’s after he approached the company with a guitar he claimed to have fashioned from his uncle’s skeleton, a spokesperson said. The company ultimately did not pursue that piece, but felt the toilet shaped like a Danish rock star would work well in Copenhagen. Ulrich, a founding member of the band that has sold 120 million records since its formation in 1981, was born in neighboring Gentofte, Denmark.
Some may interpret Midnight’s sculpture as an elaborate insult to Ulrich, but the artist insisted that is “absolutely not the case.”
“This toilet was built by a Metallica superfan,” he said. “They wrote the first songs that meant something to me.”
“Don’t worry,” said Sabrina Sieck with Ripley Entertainment, “this will be featured in a gallery, not the bathroom.”
Midnight chose Ulrich over the other members because Lars, “as the drummer, is usually depicted sitting,” and “so was an obvious choice for the piece.”
“I could have done a urinal with James (Hetfield),” he said, “but that’s not where the creative spirit was leading me.”
Midnight said he considered auctioning the toilet, but both Christie’s and Sotheby’s declined to participate.