East Coast Art Vandal Strikes At Princeton University Museum
An uninvited artist imposed his own single-work exhibit on the walls of the Princeton University Art Museum on June 4, sparking an investigation that now involves the United States Secret Service.
The work, which was about 9 inches-by-15 inches and titled "Fear and Consumption," was found hanging in a gallery on the second floor of the museum. The items found depicted President George Bush on dollar bills including various indirect and veiled threats within, according to Princeton Borough Police Lt. Dennis McManimon.
"The collage used money with the president's face," Lt. McManimon said, adding that dollar bills were changed by replacing Washington's face with Mr. Bush's face.
"I don't know if you would call it 'anti-President Bush,' but it is really bizarre," he said.
The lieutenant added, however, that, while vague, the language used could be conceived as "threats toward the President."
"It wasn't a real overt threat, but it was somewhat veiled," he said.
The "artist," who referred to the stunt as a "mock terrorist act on the art world," wrote that his work was created by using a mixture of acrylics and bodily fluids, as outlined in a series of written letters that were left behind at the museum. He also composed a mea culpa to museum Director Susan Taylor, in which the vandal apologized for the disruption and praised Ms. Taylor's work and commitment to the arts.
Ruta Smithson, public information officer for the museum, declined comment on the incident, but did say the display was removed immediately.
The case has been taken out of local jurisdiction and handed over to federal agents because of the nature of the crime, which included threats toward the president and the damaging of money.
display coincided with similar acts committed at the National
Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Philadelphia Museum
of Art, and the Guggenheim and Metropolitan museums in New
York City. All incidents occurred within three days of one