Arts center says it won’t remove pig painting of cops after backlash

The arts center cited an “opportunity to embrace and reflect diverse community viewpoints”

By Suzie Ziegler 

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — A controversial art installation depicting police officers as pigs will not be removed, a California arts center announced on Wednesday. 

In an Instagram post, the Board of Trustees for the California Center for the Arts, Escondido said that it had considered “the range of public comments” about the piece and decided to keep the exhibition “without removing, covering or otherwise editing it.” The statement cited an “opportunity to embrace and reflect diverse community viewpoints.” 

The decision appears to be in conflict with an earlier statement from Sara Matta, the chairwoman of CCAE, who said the installation would be taken down, the Escondido Times-Advocate reported on Sunday. Matta had also offered an “abject apology.”

The piece in question has sparked conversation and criticism since it was unveiled last Friday as part of a larger exhibit on street art culture called “Street Legacy: SoCal Style Masters,” according to the Voice of San Diego. The piece is titled “Three Slick Pigs — A.P.A.B Edition” and explores a “satirical look at excessive police force and abuse of power by some individuals who hide behind the badge,” the artist wrote in an Instagram post. 


A post shared by OG SLICK #5506 (@og_slick)

Escondido city officials have largely condemned the decision to show the piece. Mayor Paul McNamara suggested he would review the art center’s management and city funding in light of the incident. 

“After this recent incident and the tone deafness of it, we have at least a responsibility to discuss that,” McNamara said at a special meeting on Monday. 

The CCAE is owned and subsidized by the City of Escondido, but its employees are employed by an “independent, not-for-profit foundation,” according to the Voice of San Diego. As such, the city does not make decisions about the contents of the center’s exhibits, the report said. 


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