The Architect of the Capitol has ruled a controversial painting depicting police officers as animals violated the rules of a congressional art competition and should be removed from the U.S. Capitol next week.
The painting — named “Untitled #1” — was selected by Democratic Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay of Missouri as one of more than 400 winners from across the country and has hung in a tunnel that connects House legislative offices to the Capitol.
“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 every day on behalf of our safety and freedom,” said Rep. David G. Reichert, whom House Speaker Paul D. Ryan tapped as the point person in the effort to remove the painting. “Tragically, we have seen that the growing divide between law enforcement and the communities they serve can prove fatal.
“For the sake of those who wear the badge and the security of our families, we must work on addressing those tensions by listening to one another, rather than acting in ways that further deteriorate the relationships that are so critical to our safety,” the Washington state Republican said.
The painting was done by former high school student David Pulphus.
Mr. Pulphus said he was inspired by the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, that followed the 2014 fatal shooting of a black teen by a police officer. It portrays people as animals and depicts a police officer with what appears to be a boar’s head.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, took it upon himself earlier this month to take down the painting, arguing that it violated the rules of the contest that said “exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed.”
The Architect of the Capitol informed Mr. Ryan’s office late Friday that the painting broke the rules, and will be removed Tuesday.