||[Aug. 26th, 2005|09:37 am]
The California Secessionist Party
Political Art Removed from California Display
by Brendan Coyne
Aug 26 - Citing "concerns about the current situation in the Middle East," California’s attorney general opted last week to pull three pieces of art from a state Justice Department exhibit held in the building’s independently-operated café. State conservative groups had protested the pieces.
One painting in particular – an image of the United States flag sliding into a toilet – promped the most criticism. Artist Stephen Pearcy, creator of the flag painting, equated California Attorney General Bill Lockyear’s action to censorship, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The works now hang in a hallway away from the restaurant.
"The decision to move it was based on the content and the viewpoint being expressed," Pearcy insisted.
In late July, conservative media personalities and the state Republican Party called on Lockyear to remove the flag painting, "T’anks to Mr. Bush," from the exhibit. Groups circulated a petition and held protests outside the building.
Lockyear’s office said the protests had nothing to do with the decision to pull the three paintings from public display. The other two paintings carried potent political messages as well. One reportedly depicts Bush driving a church-shaped tank and the other is emblazoned with the statement, "Palestine – Stop US-Financed Genocide in the Middle East."
The exhibit, "Creative Merger," is sponsored by the Justice Department, California Arts Council, California Lawyers for Art and the Side Bar Café, the installation’s site. Prior to the Justice Department showing, the artwork was displayed at the Sacramento County Public Law Library.
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