VENICE, Italy — Hillary Clinton’s emails, long a political talking point, have become art — and the former secretary of state herself went to take a look.
The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee looked through printed copies of her emails and sat at a replica of the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk during a visit Tuesday to an art exhibit in Venice, Italy, titled “HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails,” according to the exhibit’s creator and curators.
“Hillary Clinton spent an hour yesterday reading her emails at my exhibition of all 62,000 pages of them in Venice,” American poet and artist Kenneth Goldsmith tweeted Wednesday. “She is pictured here at a replica of the Oval Office Resolute Desk, stacked with her emails.”
Francesco Urbano Ragazzi — the collective name for two men who are working as the exhibit’s curatorial team — told CNN that Clinton came in for a private tour of the exhibit Tuesday morning.
“During the tour, the former US Secretary of State had the opportunity to confront to the 30,000 emails that were sent and received from her private email account while serving the government between 2009 and 2013 — and the same ones that cost her the 2016 presidential election,” the curators wrote in a statement. “Clinton proceeded to sit down at an exact replica of the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk and leaf through her emails for nearly an hour.”
NERO, the publisher that produced Goldsmith’s book accompanying the art exhibit, also posted photos of the visit.
President Donald Trump made Clinton’s use of private email servers during her tenure as secretary of state a focal point of his 2016 presidential campaign rhetoric. The FBI’s investigation found that of the 30,000 emails Clinton provided to the State Department from her server back in 2014, 110 contained classified information at the time they were sent or received. The agency did not recommend charges against Clinton, though then-FBI Director James Comey rebuked her and her aides for being “extremely careless.”
During an interview with Italian news outlet TGR Veneto outside of the theater, Clinton slammed the controversy surrounding her emails as unnecessary.
“It was and is still one of the strangest, most absurd events in American political history,” she said at the beginning of the clip. “And anyone can go in and look at them — there’s nothing there.”
“It’s an artistic way of making the same point that I made in the book I wrote, ‘What Happened,’ ” Clinton continued. “And that is, there was nothing wrong, there was nothing that should have been so controversial.”
On Thursday, the former secretary of state tweeted a photo of herself sitting behind the replica of the Resolute Desk with copies of the emails, writing, “Found my emails at the Venice Biennale. Someone alert the House GOP.”
During her interview on Tuesday, Clinton also warned European countries to be vigilant of Russian attacks on their elections similar to those experienced by the United States in 2016.
“Europeans should be very aware of the Russians (who) are involved in and trying to influence elections in all the democracies, and they conducted a sweeping and systematic attack on our elections,” she said. “So that was a big factor that had never been part of our system before.”
The exhibit opened in May at the Despar Teatro Italia, and will last until November, according to the curators.
Goldsmith, who was in New York during Clinton’s visit, said that the visit came about after a high school friend of Clinton’s viewed the exhibit.
Clinton also commented on the venue that hosted the exhibit, a former theater that has been converted into a supermarket, during the interview with TGR Veneto.
“I think it’s the most amazing supermarket I have ever seen!” she said.