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Old 04-13-2005, 05:23 AM   #1
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Secret Service Probes Art Exhibit

CHICAGO - The Secret Service sent agents to investigate a college art gallery exhibit of mock postage stamps, one depicting President Bush with a gun pointed at his head.

The exhibit, called "Axis of Evil: The Secret History of Sin," opened last week at Columbia College in Chicago. It features stamps designed by 47 artists addressing issues such as the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal, racism and the war in Iraq.

None of the artists is tied to the college.

Secret Service spokesman Tom Mazur would not say Tuesday whether the inquiry had been completed or whom the Secret Service had interviewed, but he said no artwork had been confiscated.

The investigation began after authorities received a call from a Chicago resident.

"We need to ensure, as best we can, that this is nothing more than artwork with a political statement," Mazur said.

Two federal agents arrived at the exhibit's opening night Thursday, took photos of some of the works and asked for the artists' contact information, said CarolAnn Brown, the gallery's director.

Brown said the agents were most interested in Chicago artist Al Brandtner's work titled "Patriot Act," which depicted a sheet of mock 37-cent red, white and blue stamps showing a revolver pointed at Bush's head.

Brandtner did not return a call to his design studio Tuesday.

The exhibit's curator, Michael Hernandez de Luna, said the inquiry "frightens" him.

"It starts questioning all rights, not only my rights or the artists' rights in this room, but questioning the rights of any artist who creates — any writer, any visual artist, any performance artist. It seems like we're being watched," he said.

Last spring, Secret Service agents in Washington state questioned a high school student about anti-war drawings he did for an art class, one of which depicted Bush's head on a stick.

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Old 04-13-2005, 05:28 AM   #2
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Yep, the thin edge of the neo-fascist wedge.
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Old 04-13-2005, 05:32 AM   #3
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Or those dastardly laws that demand that threats of pretty much any nature get investigated. It does seem over the top but those procedures do exist for good reason. When the exhibit gets closed down by the government or the exhibit pulled for it's content I would get worried.
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Old 04-13-2005, 05:35 AM   #4
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How is art depicting a stamp a threat? Couldn't you take that and run and start reading things into so many works of art?
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:46 PM   #5
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
How is art depicting a stamp a threat? Couldn't you take that and run and start reading things into so many works of art?
IT is not directly a threat, but some things are better left unsaid and unexpressed. Art should never be confused with hate. I don't blame the secret service agents at all.
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:52 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
IT is not directly a threat, but some things are better left unsaid and unexpressed.
are you suggesting censorship would be appropriate here?
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:55 PM   #7
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are you suggesting censorship would be appropriate here?
For hate speech, why wouldn't it be? Am I wrong for not defending the scum of the earth?
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:56 PM   #8
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
[B]IT is not directly a threat, but some things are better left unsaid and unexpressed. [B]
But what things? And more importantly, who decides?
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Old 04-13-2005, 12:59 PM   #9
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
For hate speech, why wouldn't it be? Am I wrong for not defending the scum of the earth?
If I was an artist, and I wanted to make an artistic commentary about the Patriot Act, then I certainly wouldn't have done so by means of an image of a gun pointing at Bush's head. It is gratuitious and not even very good art.

But as to whether such an image would qualify as hate speech, I'm not really sure.
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:00 PM   #10
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But what things? And more importantly, who decides?
Glad you asked. For one thing, I find hate speech appalling. There are ways to make a political statement without sending the message that it would be patriotic to assassinate the president. I personally believe the people as a whole have the right to decide in a democracy, but hatred in particular does not sit well with me.
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:00 PM   #11
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Originally posted by financeguy


If I was an artist, and I wanted to make an artistic commentary about the Patriot Act, then I certainly wouldn't have done so by means of an image of a gun pointing at Bush's head. It is gratuitious and not even very good art.

But as to whether such an image would qualify as hate speech, I'm not really sure.
Then what is it?
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:02 PM   #12
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
For hate speech, why wouldn't it be? Am I wrong for not defending the scum of the earth?
first, i find your assumption that the artist is necessarily "the scum of the earth" laughable.

second, i believe our constitution calls for freedom of speech, not freedom from speech. right?
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:05 PM   #13
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Then what is it?
Well too be honest I don't know enough about the relevant hate speech or hate crime legislation, vis a vis rights to freedom of expression, to be able to judge. I suppose ultimately it may be tested in the law courts at this stage. As I said, as a work of art it pretty much sucked.
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Se7en
first, i find your assumption that the artist is necessarily "the scum of the earth" laughable.
I find it laughable that people consider it "art." The intention is not appreciation itself, but to charge negative, hateful thoughts on the president.

Quote:
Originally posted by Se7en
second, i believe our constitution calls for freedom of speech, not freedom from speech. right?
Yes, but it does not protect HATE SPEECH.
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Old 04-13-2005, 01:12 PM   #15
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could you point out where that distinction is written then?

also, how can you be so sure that this is an attempt to "charge" thoughts in others rather than a personal statement?
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