SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento artist found herself in the national spotlight when someone criticized her paintings of the mistresses, girlfriends, and wives of some of California’s governors.

Her paintings were supposed to be displayed at a downtown Sacramento bar, until one of the city’s top lobbyists complained.

Maria Shriver, Linda Ronstadt and Nancy Davis are all women Maren Conrad believes made history in California. She thought her artwork would cause conversation, not controversy.

Ten women, all lovers of California’s governors. Each with a story of love, heartache and influence.

Her artwork, called Politically Vulnerable, was supposed to hang inside a new downtown bar and lounge called Vanguard.

“I felt like incorporating strong, smart women that were also very comfortable with their sexuality and their vulnerability was a very interesting topic for the placement.”

But then lobbyist Donne Brownsey heard about the collection and complained to Vanguard.

“She felt there were many other women that were more worthy of celebration,” Conrad said.

So Vanguard decided not to display the collection.

“It was hugely painful. It was 280 hours of my life,” Conrad said.

But little did Conrad know, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

The Streisand Effect was in full effect as the efforts to block her art moved it from a bar to an art gallery. And the stories of the women she painted are back in the spotlight.

And out of all the controversy, someone bought Conrad’s collection.


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