A fascinating story in the L.A. Times focuses on Art Center alumnus and faculty member Alex Schaefer, questioned by L.A. police after painting a bank branch on fire.
“They said they had to find out my intention. They asked if I was a terrorist and was I going to follow through and do what I was painting.”
No, Schaefer said. He explained that the artwork was intended to be a visual metaphor for the havoc that banking practices have caused to the economy.
A terrorist certainly would not spend hours on a public sidewalk creating an oil painting of his intended target, he told the officers.
The police took down his name, address and telephone number on a form — Schaefer declined to provide his Social Security number — and departed.
“They were friendly. They weren’t intimidating,” he said. “I figured that when they left, they probably decided the episode was stupid and they’d just wad up the form and throw it away.”
Wrong. On Tuesday, two more officers showed up at Schaefer’s home. This time they were plainclothes detectives.