NBC in the USA reports:
Alameda Artist’s Display Alarms Secret Service
UPDATED: 5:46 am PST March 2, 2007
ALAMEDA, Calif. — An Alameda artist got a surprise visit from the U.S. Secret Service last week for displaying artwork some people thought was threatening to the president, NBC11’s Jodi Hernandez reported.
Artist Michael McDonald, 55, routinely displays art in his front yard. One of his latest pieces is a cardboard representation of President George W. Bush being impaled by a knife. …
McDonald said the piece intended to spark discussion about controversial topics.
“The knife is used as a hook, basically to bring you into the piece,” McDonald said.
McDonald said the Secret Service grilled him for 90 minutes about his art and his beliefs, Hernandez reported.
They also asked him to allow access to his medical records, he said.
McDonald said the federal agents asked if he interpreted his work as a threat against the country’s chief executive. He said he didn’t.
“They said, ‘You’ve got a knife sitting in the head of the president of the United States,'” McDonald said. “I said, ‘No, I got a knife in a piece of cardboard.'”
McDonald said the art is in no way meant to threaten the president, but to get people thinking about Bush’s policies and the war in Iraq.
“We’re not outraged about that, but we’re outraged about a simple knife stuck in a cardboard figure and saying, ‘Oh no he’s the president, he’s the president.’
No, he’s not. He’s just a cardboard figure that I used as a representation of something,” McDonald said.