Political Artwork in State Office is Raising Some Hackles
News 10 Net | July 20, 2005
A painting depicting a red-white-and-blue map of the U.S. in the toilet that's on display at the state Attorney General's headquarters is creating quite a stir. It was painted by the same Sacramento man who displayed a couple of anti-war effigies on his Land Park home last winter.
The painting is titled "T'anks to Mr. Bush" and was painted in 2003 by Stephen Pearcy.
Last February, Pearcy displayed a soldier mannequin hanging from a noose with anti-war, anti-Bush sentiments. The display provoked both ire and support. His painting threatens to do the same. It's part of an exhibit sponsored by "California Laywers for the Arts" that's just been unveiled in the cafeteria of the office building of Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Some Republican critics are taking exception to Lockyer allowing the painting.
"I'm sure that the Attorney General's office has some discretion as to whether or not they would hang artowrk that is obsolutely offensive to the gay and lesbian community or any artwork that would display violence towards women," said Karen Hanretty, a spokesperson for the California Republic Party. "I bet they wouldn't hang that in there. But they will hang artwork that is so blatantly offensive to our military and what we are doing in Iraq to fight a war on terrorism."
A spokesperson for Lockyer said the Attorney General is not in the business of censorship. "Of course, if someone were breaking the law by engaging in art by illegally discriminating against someone or committing a hate crime, well, then that's a crime," said Nathan Barankin. "But expressing your political views is not a crime, at least not yet until Karen Hanretty has her way."
News10 spoke with Pearcy Monday at his Bay Area home where he lives during the week. He told reporter Dan Adams that "T'anks to Mr. Bush" was his way of expressing how the country, with the passage of the Patriot Act, was "going down the toilet."