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Cafe Criticized for Removing Art Deemed “Too Serious”

An artist who fought back after a San Francisco cafe owner remove photographs deemed “too serious” from the walls of her coffee shop has sparked debate about what duty cafe owners who dabble in the gallery business have in the art community.

Eileen Hassi, owner of Ritual, wrote the following in a letter to artist Varese Layzer after removing the art, which Lazer says depicted the recent death of her mother through the display of inanimate objects in her mother’s apartment:

The art that belongs in a cafe is fluffier stuff, stuff that doesn’t make people think about the tough questions in life: pictures of telephone poles, birds sitting on the wires, tapestries of heavy metal lyrics. Whimsical stuff.

The full letter can be seen on Layzer’s Flickr account here.

Naturally, most cafe owners who’ve weighed in on the matter have sided with Hassi, contending that small business owners have every right to choose what they do or do not display on their own walls.

The Bay Citizen provides an interesting take on the flap here.

Following is the artwork that was removed:


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