Removal of artist's paintings at 58 Degrees and Holding Co. sparks controversy

Photo courtesy of Christopher Fairman


Musician-artist Christopher Fairman expected to have an “America”-themed show at 58 Degrees and Holding Co. during the month of July, but just three days after he hung more than two dozen paintings, the entire show has been removed.

The dispute, Fairman says, centers on two paintings.

The show featured seven paintings of flags including a large centerpiece depicting the American flag, as well as smaller ones showing a peace flag and the pride flag. The remaining paintings featured a heart motif.

Fairman says he believes both paintings were removed because of what they represent.

A manager for 58 Degrees and Holding, counters that claim, calling it “ridiculous”.

Fairman hung the show at the popular Midtown wine bar-bistro earlier this week, only to learn that the restaurant’s general manager had removed two of the paintings–the peace flag and the pride flag–without discussing it with him first.

Fairman had been working on the show for a few months and says he’d informed management that main part of the exhibit would center around the American flag, he told SN&R. 

He’d completed most of the show, including the peace flag, when the June 12 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando inspired him to create another painting.

“Once the Orlando shootings happened, I made the pride flag, too,” he said. “I figured it was a good statement.”

On Thursday, however, Fairman says he learned that the peace and pride paintings had been removed without explanation.

“[The general manager] was there when I hung the paintings, and he didn’t say anything to me [about them] then,” Fairman says of his encounter.

Today, Fairman removed the rest of the paintings in protest. He also posted a photo of the exhibit to his Facebook page, writing “I felt that they were very poignant given the times we are living in.”

“It’s upsetting,” he told SN&R. “This doesn’t seem like something that should be happening in 2016 in Sacramento.”

A general manager at 58 Degrees and Company, however, refuted the notion that the paintings’ removal had to do with anything but visual aesthetics.

The paintings that Fairman hung, he says, were the “opposite'” of what had been agreed upon.

“I asked for no bright colors and every piece we got for was that. None of them fit the aesthetic,” said a manager who identified himself as “Tyler”, but hung up without giving a last name.

“It’s completely unfair and absurd to say it was because of anything else,” he added, confirming that he had not spoken to Fairman about the removal.

With the paintings now gone from 58 Degrees and Holding CO.,  Fairman says he hopes to find another place to hang his works.




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