Best Antiwar Art Installment: Art that best threatens precedent

836 Central Ave., Alameda

Artist Michael McDonald has painted murals in city parks and schools all over the City of Alameda. He also has created a host of smaller pieces — a new one every month — in front of his home. Some have proved controversial. February’s piece inspired not just aesthetic appreciation, but the ultimate compliment: a Secret Service visit to his house under the PATRIOT Act. McDonald had impaled a cardboard cutout of George Bush — an easy-to-buy item at Party Warehouse — on a knife to protest the escalating violence in the Middle East and the erosion of rights at Guant‡namo. According to McDonald, agents threatened to charge him with four counts of threatening the life of the president. McDonald says they told him, “You’ve got a knife sitting in the head of the president of the United States.” He answered, “No, I got a knife in a piece of cardboard.” The feds searched his house and pulled his records from doctors, psychiatrists, and the military, he says. While he awaits criminal charges, he continues generating new pieces — most of them antiwar and anti-establishment — and all of them displayed on his Central Avenue lawn.

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