Snowden Statue Freed! Plus, Activist Artists Avoid Criminal Charges

Snowden bust, installed under cover of darkness on April 6 and swiftly removed by cops, will now be displayed in Brooklyn art gallery

by Deirdre Fulton

(Common Dreams) – Activist artists who surreptitiously installed a 100-pound bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden atop a war memorial in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park last month have been ticketed but not criminally charged, their lawyer said Wednesday.

The activists, identified by the Associated Press as Jeff Greenspan and Andrew Tider, will pay $50 fines apiece for being in the park after-hours, a non-criminal offense.

“We’re extremely grateful that the city has reconfirmed its commitment to the arts, even those that are unusual and offbeat,” said their attorney, Ronald Kuby, adding that the statue has been collected from the NYPD–which had seized the sculpture just hours after it was erected.

In a statement released Wednesday to Animal, which was given exclusive access to document the installation that took place at dawn on April 6, Greenspan and Tider said:

We are thrilled the statue has been released for public viewing. It belongs in public, since the aim of this piece is to help the public have an important national debate about mass surveillance.

The NYPD was gracious today in their handling of the situation. Some officers even expressed their approval of and appreciation for the art. It is exciting to be reminded that NYC is still a place where complex issues and challenging ideas can be examined by all in a public setting.

The Brooklyn Paper reports:

The jailbird statue will enjoy its freedom by appearing temporarily at the Boiler gallery on N. 14th Street, between Nassau and Wythe avenues, in Williamsburg. The owner of the art space said he had already settled on a “surveillance” theme for the gallery’s annual show, and when he and his collaborators saw the news about the effigy, they decided the bust would be a perfect addition to their show.

“Snowden is a very interesting character, so when we saw these artists putting the bust in public and creating a dialogue, we thought being able to put it back in a public venue would be great,” said gallery owner Joe Amrhein.

After that, Animal adds, “the artists hope it will find a home in a New York City park via the Arts in the Park initiative.”

What’s more, in keeping with their mission to increase awareness about Edward Snowden, the artists asked Animal to release a file to allow anyone to 3-D print their own statue. Download it here.

This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.