Controversial installation
The artwork has generated controversy in Escondido and extensive news coverage. Image from NBC 7 broadcast

The trustees of the California Center for the Arts in Escondido on Wednesday defended an exhibition of Southern California street art that included a piece critical of police.

An installation in the exhibit by street artist Richard Wyrgatsch II, who is known as OG Slick, included sculptures of pigs dancing in front of an image of police in riot gear.

The piece drew immediate criticism from Escondido’s mayor and police chief, and prompted a special meeting of the art center’s board.

“The board voted to continue CCAE’s support of the Street Legacy: SoCal Style Masters exhibition and of the installation in question without removing, covering or otherwise editing it,” said Board Chair Sara Matta. 

“Since opening last Friday, the exhibition has received an overwhelmingly positive response, although one installation has sparked passionate dialogue,” she said. 

Matta said the board will convene a series of discussions involving the exhibit curators, artists, city leaders, community groups and others to address the controversy.

“As a community-serving organization, CCAE has the opportunity to embrace and reflect diverse community viewpoints and bring people together to discover, create and celebrate the visual and performing arts,” she said.

The exhibition, which runs until Aug. 28, includes graffiti, street art, skateboarding, surfing, tattoos, hip hop, breaking, punk, lowriders and custom culture.



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Ellen Bullock