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Quick and Dirty

Your Art Not Here

Oil Painting By Aaron Edelson
furor over the fuhrer: Aaron Edelson’s painting Hitler in France was removed from the City Hall Courtyard Galleries at the request of Izzy Patoka, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods.

By Van Smith | Posted 7/21/2004

City Hall is not an art gallery,” says Izzy Patoka, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and the mayor’s liaison to Baltimore’s Jewish community. True enough, though it does have an art gallery—the City Hall Courtyard Galleries, where the Artscape exhibit Artists in Baltimore Arts and Entertainment Districts is now hanging.

One of the pieces slated to be displayed—Aaron Edelson’s painting, Hitler in France—was pulled from the show because Patoka found it offensive.

“That picture is inappropriate to hang at City Hall,” Patoka insisted during a July 15 phone call. “It was my decision. . . . It may be appropriate for an art gallery, but not here.”

“City Hall is the perfect place to discuss such issues,” counters Edelson, a 25-year-old resident of the CopyCat Building in midtown’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District. “It’s where difficult issues can be presented and discussed.” Instead, he says, “my painting got censored.”

“I stated my case, saying it’s important to have a wide variety of viewpoints” Edelson continues. “But Izzy wasn’t hearing it.”

Ultimately, Edelson says he believes that the decision to ax his piece from the show was “hypocrisy.”

“The mayor wants the arts to be an important player in downtown revival,” he says. “But it seems his administration doesn’t really want it to be any more than flowers in vases.

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