“In America we don’t arrest artwork,” the letter opened. “We write to express our grave concern that you may follow up on an act of vigilante censorship in the House of Representatives by taking formal steps to remove a painting by St. Louis Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School Senior David Pulphus from display on a wall in the tunnel between the Cannon House Office Building and the Capitol.”
Over the last few days, the painting has been taken down by four different Republican members, on three separate occasions, and taken to Clay’s office. Clay has returned it every time to the tunnel.
In the letter, they said that the painting “appears to be influenced by Picasso’s violent dreamscape in Guernica and George Orwell’s dystopian parable Animal Farm.”
They asked Ryan, “Why would we launch our new Congress with this experiment in artistic control?”
The artwork, entitled “Untitled #1,” depicts police-community relations in Ferguson, Missouri.
Washington Republican David Reichert sent a letter on Wednesday to Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers saying that the painting violates the guidelines of the art competition, the letter said.
Reichert, who worked in law enforcement for 33 years, was one of the first criticisms about the painting but never took it off the wall.