Nobody ever said mixing politics and food is verboten, but as WWeek reports, the image of Adolf Hitler wearing a Trump hat is enough to churn stomachs. SE Clinton's Night Light Lounge held an art show, and artist Matthew Abelman, aka Slim Pickins, hung "Hat Sales Are Up Again," a painting of Hitler wearing a baseball cap with the words "Make American Great Again" across it. At customers' requests, the painting has since been taken down.
Night Light co-owner Christopher Gutierrez tells WW the painting wasn't removed for its politics. "I mean, it's Trump," he says. Instead, customers found the painting disturbing because it was an image of Hitler. "We got complaints about its shocking visuals," Gutierrez says. "The image of Hitler is strong for some people. It's a lot to ask people to enter a space that's not safe for them."
Night Light Lounge did include the painting during its art show, only taking it down once the show was over. An online discussion was started, and according to one comment, the painting has been sold.
Responding to the community, Night Light Lounge published this announcement on Facebook:
Night Light Lounge fully supports freedom of speech and expression in all forms, and in our over 12 years of rotating monthly art shows, we are proud to say that we have helped facilitate that expression in Portland.
On occasion, we have also challenged our customers through imagery and message. A piece of artwork that has been hanging since our opening day in 2004 depicts a nude in repose, which we proudly display even when minors are allowed for weekend brunch.
But we are also very clear that we are a neighborhood bar and restaurant, not an art gallery. And as such we want to make sure that we do not make our customers feel undue discomfort through the imagery we display. We have shied away from images of graphic sexuality and violence on occasion in the past, and this month we are adding Hitler to the list.
We have spoken to the artist, and he is fully understanding and supportive of the position that the image of Hitler, apart from any other political message, can be very shocking and unpleasant for certain people to gaze upon while attempting to enjoy a cocktail or two over dinner.