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David Lenz, “Wishes in the Wind” (2010) (via jsonline.com)

There’s a lot of art news coming out of Milwaukee this week and all of it makes some of us wonder what the hell is happening in the city we normally associate with Laverne & Shirley and bratwurst.

First, the director of Milwaukee Art Museum made silly comments that museums should not be political and now the union-busting Republican governor of Wisconsin has removed a very multicultural painting by local artist David Lenz from the governor’s mansion in favor of a Civil War-era work.

When reporter Daniel Bice asked the artist why he thought it was yanked from its prominent place above the grand mantle in the official residence, he got this money quote:

“This seems symbolic,” said Lenz, referring to Walker’s proposed cuts in state funding for Milwaukee schools and city and county services, something he said would have a disproportionate impact on low-income youngsters. “You would think we could all agree on the need to support the hopes and dreams of children.”

Ouch. And in what can only be described as operatic for its dramatic contrast, the GOP gov replaced the work with “a century-old painting of Old Abe, a Civil War-era bald eagle from Wisconsin.”

Here’s a trick you might want to try. If you put your ear to the ground, you can almost hear the culture war drums in the distance.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper has the full juicy story. And there’s more on the Lenz painting and its initial placement in the governor’s mansion here.

Homepage image via Art City.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

One reply on “WI Gov Replaces Multi-Culti Painting With Civil War-era Work”

  1. CULTURE WAR! CULTURE WAR!  black bandanas will hide the shine from our solid gold grillz as we creep in the night with wheatpaste and spraypaint in hand…

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