CINCINNATI (WXIX) – A painting at the Cincinnati Art Museum is stoking debate because some say it crosses the line.
The painting is part of the exhibit “Black and Brown Faces: Paying Homage To.”
Titled “Mother Land Theme Park Black Panther Gift Shop,” it shows Winnie the Pooh with his arms handcuffed behind his back as he lies face down in what appears to be a pool of his own blood. Standing over him is Piglet, aiming down a gun while wearing a police hat. On the right is Tigger holding a sign that reads, “Off the pig.”
Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hils doesn’t like what he sees.
“This is meant to divide citizens and their police, which isn’t good for the citizens,” he said Tuesday. “Without us, crime runs rampant. Killing becomes even more commonplace.”
Hils says he was alerted to the painting when an officer’s wife called following her tour of the CAM with her child.
“She saw something that was completely hateful, completely ugly, and it was so ugly because it was so personal,” he said, adding his contention that the painting suggests the child’s father “is a murderer.”
Not everyone feels the same.
“It’s art,” said Hayden Baumgartner, a visitor to the CAM. “Art is supposed to make people feel things. Even if it pisses you off, it’s art. That’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s supposed to make you feel something and evoke a reaction.”
Baumgartner and fellow visitor Sam Wesselman say they don’t want to see the painting taken down.
CAM officials say the artist of the painting, Magnus Juliano, created the piece with the intention of inviting dialogue.
The painting is scheduled to remain on dispaly at the CAM until June 19.
Hils says he’s going to ask for the painting to be removed immediately.
“You know I think you take little tiny steps at a time. When you hear of something like this, you should act on it,” he said. “You shouldn’t sit there and just accept that people are out there putting absolute disgusting lies about police officers and having to accept it as art or accepted as something as beauty.”
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