Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Bogus Stamps Attract Secret Service Attention

The Associated Press (AP) reports the U.S. 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's Glass Curtain Gallery in Chicago. The 47 artists designed fake postage stamps addressing issues such as the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, racism, and the war in Iraq. None of the artists is tied to the college.

Secret Service spokesman Tom Mazur said Tuesday that the inquiry started after a call from a Chicago resident.Mazur would not say whether the inquiry had been completed or with whom the Secret Service had spoken, but he said no artwork had been confiscated.

One of the artists, Hernandez de Luna, has created mock stamps and tried to get them through the mail; his works with real cancelation marks have sold for $2,000.In 2001, he was suspected of creating a bogus stamp with a black skull and crossbones design and the word "Anthrax"; its discovery shut down part of Chicago's main post office for several hours.

One red stamp has the words "Blood for Oil" under a picture of a sport utility vehicle. Another uses images of naked prisoners from the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal to comprise a grotesque picture of former Attorney General John Ashcroft's face.
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posted by Don Schilling at 6:11 PM