Art and the Pepper Spray Cop at UC Davis


On November 18 a group of peaceful student demonstrators at the University of California, Davis were pepper sprayed by a campus policeman. A photograph of the event went viral on the internet. There are a number of interesting aspects of this horrifying event: the nonchalance and arrogance of the cop who is methodically spraying pepper into the faces of the seated, unresisting students; the reaction of the university administration; and the way in with the now iconic image of the cop was used in combination with great works of art to make a political point. Here is a sampling of the art which was "violated" by the "pepper spray cop" as he violated the rights of the unresisting students. Many of the "rewordings" of the paintings (and a film) are overtly political, especially those by Delacroix, Picasso, Trumbull, Sargent, and Kubrick. How little could the brutal cop have imagined the political and artistic creativity his action would trigger:


[Delacroix's "Liberty leading the People" (1830)]


[Edvard Munch, "The Scream" (1893)]


[Picasso's "Guernica" (1937)]


[I couldn't identify the painting but it looks like something by Jackson Pollock]


[John Trumbull's "Declaration of Independence" (1819)]


[John Singer Sargent, "Gassed" (1918-1919)]


[Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" (1884–1886)]


[The "Pepper Spray Cop" is now one of the droogs in Kubrick's film "A Clockwork Orange" (1971)]

Posted: Wednesday - December 28, 2011 at 09:48 PM