Paul Bareis is the owner of the Eureka Art and Frame shop in Eureka, California. It’s apparently quite a frame shop; it won first place in Decor magazine’s “100 Best Art and Framing Retailers” competition. As a public relations gesture, Bareis supported the Redwood Art Association’s 45th Annual Fall Exhibit; he offered $300 to the second-place prize winner.
The second-place winner turned out to be a painting by Chuck Bowden called “The Tactics of Tyrants are Always Transparent.” As reported by the local newspaper, the artwork “accuses Bush, through imagery and text, of being connected to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.” Here is the painting:
Bareis was appalled by the painting and withdrew his $300 offer. “Freedom of speech is not a one-way street,” he said. “A person has a right to paint what they want, and I have the right to not fund hate speech. I didn’t want my business associated with someone’s political thought.”
The “artist” responded predictably, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: “They shouldn’t call it ‘open to art.’ They should call it, ‘open to Republican art’ or ‘open to closed-minded art.’ For local business owners to try to stagnate artistic expression according to their political interpretation of how life should be is not such a good idea.” As usual in such matters, the starving artist won’t starve; an anonymous donor replaced the $300. But that’s nothing; his painting is on sale for $35,000, far more than any other work that has been exhibited at the Redwood competition. So in financial terms, Bowden will have the last word.
We, of course, will give the last word to Paul Bareis:
“You’ve got to stand up and fight for what you believe in and I think that’s what our president’s doing and that’s what I’m doing. That conspiracy stuff is bunk.”
Bareis’ shop doesn’t seem to have a web site, but here are the address and phone number:
Eureka Art & Frame Co.
1636 F Street, Eureka
Local Phone: 707-444-2888
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