The back and forth saga of the police-as-pigs painting, which has been hanging in a hallway leading to the U.S. Capitol, is finally going to come to an end next week. According to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office, the Architect of the Capitol has agreed to remove it after the holiday Monday. From CNN:
[Rep. Dave] Reichert, a Washington Republican, said the painting violated the rules on artwork at the Capitol.
“The Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity to celebrate the creativity of students in every corner of our country — and visitors from around the world see their talents on display when they walk through the halls of our Capitol,” Reichert said in a statement. “However, with any competition there are rules, and these rules exist for a reason. This painting hung in clear defiance to those rules and was a slap in the face to the countless men and women who put their lives on the line everyday on behalf of our safety and freedom.”
Ryan told the congressman that the Architect of the Capitol made the determination, Reichert’s office said.
The painting is the work of a high school student from Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay’s district, which includes Ferguson, Missouri. It depicts protesters in the street, one of them giving a black power salute in the direction of a police officer depicted as a pig. The officer is pointing a gun back at the protester. A second pig-officer, also holding a gun, appears in the foreground.
The painting (actual title: Untitled #1) won an art competition last year which was open to people in Rep. Clay’s district. Clay did not judge or select the winner but did place the painting in the Capitol hallway. Eventually, someone noticed and controversy arose. Washington D.C.’s Fraternal Order of Police told the Daily Caller the artwork was “offensive and disgusting.” Police organizations from LA, San Francisco and New York subsequently asked that the painting be taken down.
Last week, Rep. Duncan Hunter removed the painting from the wall and returned it to Rep. Clay’s office. Clay later put the painting back up. That apparently prompted Rep. Reichert to write a letter to the Architect of the Capitol arguing the painting violated the rules. Initially, Speaker Ryan said he hadn’t seen the painting or the letter from law enforcement groups requesting it’s removal, but this week he said it was “disgusting.”