14 Artist Arrests, From Terrorism to Tax Fraud: a Tribute to Plastic-Bag Bomber Takeshi Miyakawa

  • “I do not understand laws,” Rimbaud wrote. “I have no moral sense.” He wasn’t the first artist to feel that way! As Mike Kelley pointed out in his Pay for Your Pleasure installation, which included a long list of quotations from artists flouting conventional morality (including that Rimbaud line), creative types have a way of disregarding authority.

    And not surprisingly, they consequently have a knack for getting arrested, which is what befell Brooklyn’s Takeshi Miyakawa this past week after being picked up for placing plastic bags and LED lights in trees. He was charged with 10 felony and misdemeanor counts, ranging from reckless endangerment to planting a false bomb. Though word spread that that Salon 94–repped artist faced 30 days of detention pending a psychiatric evaluation, he was out on $250,000 bail on Wednesday, and says he’ll fight the charges.

    That aside, we’re here right now for a slide show: a brief survey of some of art history’s most infamous artist arrests, from the artists who were wrongfully jailed to those who very much deserved to be taken into custody. (A side note: we have not included Chinese artists, since their government has a habit of locking them up fairly frequently. That is a whole separate slide show.) No doubt we missed many of your favorite artist arrests. Please do post them in the comments section below.

    Click above to view the slides.