Revisionist art history as Maine removes labor mural

Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:02pm EDT
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By Ros Krasny

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - Waves of criticism have followed the removal of a mural depicting workers' history in Maine, including the iconic "Rosie the Riveter," from government offices in the state capital Augusta.

Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, has said through spokesmen that he received complaints about the artwork in the Department of Labor offices from business owners because it was too pro-labor.

Also in the works are plans to rename conference rooms at the department building now named after labor leaders.

"The mural has been removed and is in storage awaiting relocation to a more appropriate venue," LePage's press secretary Adrienne Bennett said in a statement.

The deed was done, in secrecy, over the weekend.

The 36-foot-long (11-meter-long) work contains 11 panels with images including shoemakers, child labor, textile workers and strikers, as well as Frances Perkins, U.S. Labor Secretary and the first U.S. woman cabinet member.

The work was painted by Judy Taylor of Tremont, Maine, adjacent to Acadia National Park. Taylor was commissioned in 2007 and finished the nearly 8-foot-tall mural in 2008.

Lynn Pasquerella, president of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, waded into the fray on Tuesday in a sharply worded letter to LePage.   Continued...

<p>A mural image showing (left)A member of the IWW or "Wobblies" trying to organize the Maine woodsmen and The Textile Workers and a mural image depicting(right)Young women were often sent to the mills by their families, who could not, or would not support them. REUTERS/Judy Taylor/Handout</p>