ARTs Update: “Impeach Bush” but not in Pierce County
Last November I reported having sat on a juried panel to purchase art for government buildings owned by our county government. Over 300 pieces were submitted to said panel by some 41 local artists and were reviewed by four art professionals and myself. Among these 300 pieces, there was one which, although receiving the highest composite score from the panel, was nonetheless ultimately denied for purchase because – upon closer examination of the painting – it was discovered that the words “Impeach Bush” appeared on the canvas. The politically charged phrase had been shrunken by the slide through which we – the panel – viewed it and thus we were unaware of existence.
I asked committee staff why such a statement, in itself, overruled the collective judgment of four art professionals and a private citizen like myself. Their response was something to the effect of “you may not like the president, but it is inappropriate for a government entity to insult the commander and chief in that way.” As I know the people on committee staff are Democrats, I do not think they were making excuses for why the painting – whose artist shall remain unnamed – wasn’t purchased.
QUESTION: Is it appropriate for a public arts commission to purchase a private work that calls for an unpopular president’s removal using tax-payer dollars?
image credit http://flickr.com/photos/articnomad/