“I’m saying to the three million people out there right now. Call your Congressman or call Lacy Clay’s office and say ‘get that picture down’ cops do not need to be depicted in this way. Blue Lives Matter,” said Fox personality Eric Bolling on the Fox News show The Five on December 29.
The painting in question depicts a street scene that includes a protest march and animals in police uniforms. The artist, high school student David Pulphus won the annual Congressional Art Contest along with hundreds of others. His work is displayed in a long hallway that connects to the U.S. Capitol Building. The artist is from Ferguson and his work was likely motivated by the police killing of Michael Brown in August 2014 which was followed by the police killings of Kajieme Powell and teenager Vonderrick Myers.
Rep. Lacy Clay issued a statement in response to Bolling.
“Members of Congress support student art competitions in our districts but we do not select the young artists and we do not judge the artwork. I had no role in selecting the winner of this student art competition and I would never attempt to approve or disapprove artistic expression. The U.S. Capitol is a symbol of freedom, not censorship. The young artist chose his own subject and the painting will not be removed,” Rep. Clay said in a statement on December 30.
The U.S. Capitol features several pieces of permanent, paintings and sculpture of several figures from American history many may find objectionable. Several racists, segregationists and confederate figures are featured as statues, busts and in paintings in the U.S. Capitol building including Confederate “President” Jefferson Davis, and pro-slavery Presidents Andrew Jackson and John Calhoun.
A large portrait of the late Alabama Senator and segregationist James Eastland also hangs on the third floor of the U.S. Capitol above the Senate Chamber.