Rogues gallery! Confiscated Snowden bust headed for Brooklyn Museum

UPDATED: Cops free Snowden statue after rogue artists turn themselves in
Geoffrey Croft / NYC Park Advocates

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 cmixs[email protected]glocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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