The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Hillary Clinton, seated at a mock Resolute Desk, reads her once-controversial emails at a Venice art exhibit

Hillary Clinton read her own emails and sat at a replica of the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk during a Sept. 12 visit to an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. (Video: Giuseppe Cordioli via Storyful)
Placeholder while article actions load

Hillary Clinton took to Twitter on Thursday to share a surreal photo: It showed her seated at a mock Resolute Desk reading emails that she sent from a private server that became a target of congressional Republicans and President Trump.

The photo captured her visit two days earlier to an art exhibition in Venice, called “HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails.”

“Found my emails at the Venice Biennale. Someone alert the House GOP,” Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, wrote in her tweet.

The exhibit by artist Kenneth Goldsmith purports to make public “for the first time in printed format all the e-mails which, according to WikiLeaks, were sent from the domain between 2009 and 2013” while Clinton was secretary of state.

“The pile of papers is rather unimpressive, rebutting Trump’s efforts to make them monumental,” according to promotional materials for the exhibit. “In this way, Goldsmith creates the greatest poem of the 21st century, an anti-monument to the folly of Trump’s heinous smear campaign against Clinton.”

Clinton’s use of a private server while secretary of state became the focus of an FBI investigation that played out during her 2016 campaign against Trump. The agency did not recommend criminal charges against Clinton, but she was rebuked by then-FBI Director James B. Comey for being “extremely careless.”

On Wednesday, Goldsmith tweeted several photos of Clinton’s visit, relaying that she had “spent an hour yesterday reading her emails at my exhibition of all 62,000 pages of them in Venice.”

On Thursday, he tweeted video of the visit.

A statement by the exhibit’s curators said Clinton read the emails while seated “at an exact replica of the Oval Office’s Resolute Desk” during her closed-door visit.

In an interview with Italian news outlet TGR Veneto outside the exhibit, Clinton called the controversy over her email “one of the strangest, most absurd events in American political history.”

“The exhibition is further proof that nothing wrong or controversial can be found on these emails,” she said. “It makes them accessible to everyone and allows everyone to read them. . . . They are just a bunch of boring emails.”