News & Politics

Architect of the Capitol Decides Anti-Cop Painting Violates Rules, Will Come Down Tuesday

A controversial painting by Missouri student David Pulphus depicting police as animals hangs in the tunnel connecting the U.S. Capitol to the Cannon House Office building. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

As Republicans began the process of dismantling ObamaCare this week, they also struggled to dismantle an offensive anti-police painting that is still hanging on a wall in a Capitol Hill hallway.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Thursday that he was confident the painting depicting police officers as pigs would soon come down from a wall in the Capitol, calling it “disgusting.”

Via The Hill:

“This is disgusting and not befitting of the Capitol,” Ryan told conservative radio host Mike Gallagher.

The Speaker’s remarks came a day after Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), a former sheriff, argued in a letter to the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) that the painting should be removed because it violates the rules of the annual high school art competition run by the AOC.

The rules prohibit artwork “depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature.” The AOC is currently reviewing that GOP request, Ryan said.
Ryan told Gallagher that he is confident it will come down soon.
The Architect of the Capitol got back to House Republicans late Friday to let them know that the painting does indeed violate contest rules. Fox News reported that the painting will come down on Tuesday.

The painting sparked a tug-of-war of sorts this week between House Republicans and the National Black Caucus, with one Democrat attempting to press charges against Republican Duncan Hunter, who took the offensive artwork down.

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., told reporters that his staff met Monday with members of the Capitol Police to press theft charges against Hunter, who yanked the painting Friday and delivered it to Clay’s office.

“He had no right to take that picture down,” Clay said. “It’s thievery.”

Clay initially had the painting hung after it was chosen as a winner of a student art competition. It was one of 435 pieces of art chosen by local panels of artists to hang in the underground tunnel between the Capitol and the Cannon House Office Building.

The painting, “Untitled #1” by Cardinal Ritter High School grad David Pulphus, depicts what is tactfully described as “a scene of civil unrest” sparked by the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. It features cops depicted as pigs shooting at citizens in Ferguson as Michael Brown is crucified in the background.

Clay argues that the painting is protected by the First Amendment and Ryan agreed.

Via The Washington Times: 

Mr. Ryan said the teenage artist — who is now in college — had a right to craft the painting, “but we do have rules that govern these paintings.”

“This is not a free for all contest where anything can go in the Capitol,” he said. “There are rules that govern this.”

Rep. Dave Reichert spearheaded the GOP effort to have the painting taken down for good.

The Washington Republican has sent a letter to the Architect of the Capitol requesting him to review whether the painting conforms with the contest rules, and is waiting for a response.

That response came Friday evening, with the Architect of the Capitol ruling that it broke the contest rules.

Earlier this week, someone affixed an “American thin blue line flag” over the top of the painting, upstaging the controversial artwork.