If it’s Considered Controversial Art, it Got Something Right

Controversial art can come from any artist.

Art is… Complicated. It can evoke emotion, anger, and laughter.

But when an art piece is called controversial, especially by lawmakers or a political party, it becomes newsworthy.

The pigs are coming

David Pulphus’ Untitled #1 is under fire. Pulphus, a Missouri high school student, created art that depicts police officers as animals.

The art was first displayed in the Capitol in June 2016 and was part of the Congressional Arts Competition.

As you can imagine, some officials—specifically Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, and Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of California and Brian Babin of Texas—are taking issue with the art.

Over the past few weeks, the trio of GOP lawmakers have removed the art from its position two times. The ruckus has attracted conservative media and garnered criticism from a smattering of law enforcement groups.

Other lawmakers, including Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo and members of The Congressional Black Caucus, are not happy with the Republican lawmakers’ antics.

Black Lives Matter… and so does black art

David Pulphus lives in the congressional district that includes Ferguson, Missouri, where in 2014, a  police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, a young, black man, leading to riots and outrage not just in Ferguson, but across the country.

Rep. Clay governs the district and thinks Pulphus’ work is a depiction of how the high school artist interprets the world. Clay appreciates the art and thinks there’s nothing wrong with it.


Excuse our excitement, but this politician’s thoughts are refreshing. If young people and their points of view upset the establishment because it makes some officials uncomfortable, well then, good for them. Good for all of us.

This artist is depicting how he and many other Americans feel. Not every police officer is a sexist or a racist—the majority of law officials are great—but lets be honest. Many police officers could benefit from racial and gender sensitivity courses.

Pulphus: We congratulate you. You made a strong impact and that’s what real art does.

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Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.