Randy Allen / Special to The Bee

Artwork by Sacramento artist Maren Conrad highlights women associated with past and present California governors. The portraits commissioned by Vanguard were pulled before the bar's grand opening tonight.

The Buzz: Art of governors' loves pulled before downtown bar opens

Published: Thursday, Jun. 13, 2013 - 4:30 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 13, 2013 - 11:29 pm

Not only is it a cliche to say that behind every great man is a great woman, it can also be inaccurate - sometimes, as a pulled art exhibition shows, there are several.

Vanguard, a trendy bar set to open Friday night in downtown Sacramento, is redecorating before opening its doors.

The reason? A collection of portraits of the former wives, girlfriends and lovers of former California governors proved too controversial for some potential patrons, leading management to reconsider.

Created by artist Maren Conrad, the paintings portrayed women commonly associated with California's chief executives, including Maria Shriver and actress Nancy Davis, who later married Ronald Reagan.

But Conrad also depicted racier choices - singer Linda Ronstadt, Gov. Jerry Brown's much-publicized girlfriend during his first administration, and actress Brigitte Nielsen, who admitted an affair with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

An appreciative attorney ended up buying Conrad's collection. She says Vanguard will still display some borrowed pieces of her work and plans to commission more.

"On my end," Conrad said, "I will be asking for a contract to ensure the work I create will stay hung."

- Jeremy B. White


The drive to regulate the contentious extraction process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has narrowed: Lawmakers have winnowed the file of related bills to a single piece of legislation. Senate Bill 4 by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, became the sole survivor after a bill requiring greater disclosure about the chemicals and water used during fracking failed to advance this week.

- Jeremy B. White


"My mom always said give people flowers while they can still smell them. (Willie Brown) has touched so many lives in a positive way."

ASSEMBLYMAN CHRIS HOLDEN, Pasadena Democrat who just returned to the Capitol after the death of his mother, explaining his support for a resolution to name the new span of the Bay Bridge after former Assembly speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown

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