Rogues gallery! Confiscated Snowden bust headed for Brooklyn Museum

Art: This bust has served time in the slammer, and now it will serve time in a museum.
The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

First it was imprisoned without charges — and now it is being framed!

A bust of notorious whistleblower Edward Snowden that briefly graced a pedestal in Fort Greene Park before police confiscated it last year will soon be on display at the Brooklyn Museum, which will install the piece as part of an exhibition showcasing political propaganda on Feb. 17. The rogue artists behind the work say they’re thrilled people will finally be able to see it.

“I’ve never had anything in any museum,” said Jeff Greenspan, who made headlines last year when he and partner Andrew Tider commissioned and illicitly installed the Snowden statue.

The 100-pound cranium will join other great works of social subversion at the museum’s current “Agitprop” exhibition.

Tider and Greenspan’s effigy — the handiwork of famed west-coast sculptor Doyle Trankina — was a perfect fit for the exhibition because it was such a high-profile stunt in a public place, said a curator.

“One of the criteria that we were considering when we were looking at work to include was not only that it was political in nature, but it existed in some form outside of the gallery or museum,” said Stephanie Weissberg, one of the show’s four curators.

Greenspan and Tider secretly installed the bust —— officially titled “The Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument 2.0” — beside its namesake statue in Fort Greene Park on April 7 last year. They hoped that onlookers would draw a comparison between Snowden — who the government labelled a traitor after he leaked thousands of documents containing state secrets — with American prisoners who suffered aboard British prison ships during the Battle of Brooklyn and were also considered traitors in their day.

But the piece only lasted unmolested for a few hours before parks department workers obscured it with a blue tarp. Authorities soon showed up and hauled it off to the slammer — well, a police storage facility — then kept it behind bars for a month until the artists surrendered themselves in exchange for its release.

Ultimately, the pair had to pay a $50 fine for the stunt — a small price for the media attention they received, not to mention the great care cops took with their art, Greenspan said.

“Looking back it’s great how it all transpired — the police removing it brought it to attention of people who might not have known about it, but they also kept it safe,” he said. “Due to the nature of the piece, there might be someone who wants to do it harm.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Elizabeth from Prospect Heights says:
This is a fantastic turn of events! Bravo, Brooklyn Museum of Art! I will look for your upcoming show!
Jan. 12, 2016, 1:53 pm
Elizabeth from Prospect Heights says:
So sorry! At your CURRENT exhibition, "Agitprop!"
Jan. 12, 2016, 1:55 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
His head is empty.
Jan. 12, 2016, 6:12 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill. says:
It's great that more people will be able to see this important art. A reminder that the Obama administration was just another 2 terms of W and a bucket of disappoint ment. I am glad I got to see it when it was in the park before the NYPD thug force took it down.
Jan. 12, 2016, 8:50 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: