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Famous Edward Snowden Statue, Released From NYPD Custody, Will Display at Brooklyn Gallery 

by Tasbeeh Herwees

May 7, 2015
Image courtesy of Postmasters Gallery.

Forlorn New Yorkers who didn’t get a chance to see the famous Edward Snowden statue that went up in a Fort Greene Park war memorial before police dismantled it will now be able to view the piece of guerilla art at Brooklyn’s The Boiler gallery. The 100-pound bust, which was released from police custody on Wednesday, will be part of SEVEN: Anonymity, No Longer an Option, an annual collaborative exhibition featuring works from seven New York and London galleries. The artists released a statement yesterday following the statue’s release:

“We are thrilled the statue has been released for public viewing. The goal of this project has always been to help the public have an important national debate about mass surveillance. It is challenging to care enough to think critically about the revelations of a person much of the media has labeled a "traitor". Our instinct is to associate all actions of that person as being wrong. This short changes us all, because it does not allow us the space to make up our own minds. The statue aims to offer an alternative perspective to the media's previous characterization of Snowden - giving us the space to consider a debate over the revelations without feeling like traitors to the nation we love.”

The artists who created the Snowden statue (which is officially titled The Prison Ship Martyr’s Monument 2.0) were ticketed for their stunt but will not be facing criminal charges. Their lawyer, Ronald Kuby, who helped secure the release of the statue, told reporters that the artists will remain unnamed, and commended city officials for reaffirming their committment to the arts “even those that are unusual and offbeat”.

They have a pending application to display the statue publicly for the city of New York City’s Art in the Parks program. Meanwhile, it’ll be available to view for free at The Boiler from May 8 to May 17. This year’s SEVEN theme was inspired by Snowden himself—the seven participating artists will be exploring the “notion of surveillance” and the impossibility of anonymity in an increasingly surveilled world:

“With the use of technology, people everywhere, including our own government, are able to obtain details on anyone anywhere. All are vulnerable to this intrusion: sometimes willingly divulging personal information, as with Facebook and other social media platforms, smart phones, and other location devices; and at other times unwittingly as with the NSA, where we unknowingly give up personal information and privacy, in premise for our personal and national security. Edward Snowden's actions in divulging information about these programs revealed that we are more vulnerable than we had previously thought. In this exhibition, the notion of surveillance is examined in various ways by seven artists.”

Other participating artists include Mark Lombardi, Trevor Paglen, and Mark Tribe. 

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Famous Edward Snowden Statue, Released From NYPD Custody, Will Display at Brooklyn Gallery