Published November 29, 2007
NEW YORK – Fake mug shots of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other White House officials are on display at the main branch of the New York City Public Library, and the exhibit has caused quite a commotion.
About six manipulated photographs of members of the Bush administration made to look like mug shots are lining one of the landmark building's hallways, with each current and former official holding a D.C. police date-of-arrest placard bearing the date they made "incriminating" statements about the war in Iraq, The New York Daily News reported.
In addition to Bush and Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are also pictured.
"It's hysterical," the Daily News quoted vistor Bennett Graff of New Haven, Conn., as saying. "It's kind of bold, to say the least."
The installation, called "Line Up" by artists Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese, is part of a larger exhibit: "Multiple Interpretations: Contemporary Prints in Portfolio at the New York Public Library."
Though some visitors were amused by the display, others were offended.
"It's a library," 54-year-old Jim Strifler of Long Island, N.Y., told the Daily News. "Maybe this would be okay for a museum, but this is supposed to be public ground."
The New York City library system is funded by public and private contributions.
"This exhibition has no political agenda," the library said in a statement issued Thursday. "The work described in the media has been presented out of context and is not a complete or fair representation of the entire exhibition — which showcases 23 different contemporary printmakers from around the world, featuring a range of subject matters."
The library also said that nothing in the exhibit is reflective of the views of the institution.
"Portions of this exhibition ... should not be viewed as a political statement by the library," it said.
Strifler and his brother complained to library officials about "Line Up" and told the Daily News that they're going to set up an alternate gallery of Democrats' phony mug shots that will include former President Bill Clinton, former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.
"Multiple Interpretations," on display through Jan. 27, is a collection that features "some of the most intriguing and compelling artists active today" of prints "created to be seen in the context of a portfolio," according to the library's Web site. Admission is free.
FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans contributed to this report.