Artistic expression, or one congressman’s political statement masquerading as “student art?”
Either way, a pretty offensive depiction of police hands in the U.S. Capitol complex, and Missouri Rep. William Lacy Clay is drawing heat for placing it there.
For several months the painting, called “Untitled #1,” has hung in the House building connecting hall, depicting police as animals seemingly engaged in the act of brutalizing minorities.
The artist is David Pulphus. According to the St. Louis American:
His winning work is an acrylic painting featuring a downtown street scene with the Gateway Arch displayed in the background and three police officers with animal heads, two with guns in hand, and a large group of marchers moving toward the police. […]
The lead marcher carries a sign that says the word “history.” Pulphus’ painting includes several signs, one of which says “Racism Kills,” and another “Stop Killing.” On the right you can see a man being crucified wearing a graduation cap holding the scales of justice in his hands.
The painting is an interpretation of the months of unrest that took place in the region in response to the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown Jr. by then-Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014.
The St. Louis County Police Associations calls it a “punch in the mouth,” but Clay isn’t taking it down, you know, since the good congressman supports “artistic expression” and all.
TAKE IT DOWN! Anti-cop crap must stop. This "art" hangs in US Capitol-Contact Rep Lacy Clay (D-MO) demand it removed https://t.co/bXmi3zeI6n
— 🇺🇸ERIC BOLLING🇺🇸 (@ericbolling) December 31, 2016
In a released statement, Clay said, “Members of Congress support student art competitions in our districts but we do not select the young artists and we do not judge the artwork. I had no role in selecting the winner of this student art competition and I would never attempt to approve or disapprove artistic expression. The U.S. Capitol is a symbol of freedom, not censorship. The young artist chose his own subject and the painting will not be removed.”
He also told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that the painting was “the most creative expression that I’ve witnessed in the last 16 years.”
Joe Patterson, St. Louis County Police Association President Joe Patterson told the Post Dispatch that the issue isn’t “about censorship, but good art and good taste are sometimes not the same thing.”
“This is an extraordinarily disrespectful piece at a minimum,” Patterson said. “We in the law enforcement community have been continuing to work to build bridges and come to a better understanding with our minority community…and then we have irresponsible leadership from elected officials pouring gasoline on bridges haven’t even finished being built yet. He’s [Clay is] picking at these wounds that we’re trying to heal.”
On Friday’s broadcast of The Five, Eric Bolling drew a lot of attention to the painting that has been up for months now, saying to Clay on air: “Take it down. I’m saying this to 3 million people watching right now. Call your congressman or call Clay’s office and say, get that picture down. Cops do not need to be depicted in this way. Blue lives matter.”
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