Here at ATL, we love ourselves a good tempest in a teapot. And one’s brewing right now over at the EPA:
[S]everal 1930s murals of the Old West [in the EPA headquarters] have become a flash point in a debate over negative stereotypes and artistic censorship.
The mural that’s sparking the most debate depicts Indians brutally scalping and murdering white settlers. All the women are naked, including one who’s on all fours as a male Indian stands behind her, seizing her hair.
Called “Dangers of the Mail,” the 1937 mural was painted by Frank Mechau, a prominent Western artist.
Lawyers representing EPA employees have made their concerns about the murals known to the agency. For the time being, the EPA has decided to cover ’em up, a la John Ashcroft and Breastgate:
For now, screens block the EPA’s Mechau mural and partially obscure a few others. The search for a permanent solution has been slowed by the fact that the General Services Administration is the EPA building’s landlord, and the GSA is hamstrung by rules that govern changes to historic buildings such as the EPA’s headquarters.
Here’s our take on the situation. Regardless of the political incorrectness of the mural, it’s just not up-to-date. It should reflect Native American communities as they are today.
GSA: Please replace the controversial mural with one showing Indians driving around in brand new Cadillacs, purchased with profits from their lucrative casinos.
Murals in Federal Building Spark Debate Over Censorship [McClatchy]
Ariel Rios Murals [GSA]