PHOTOS: What Happens When a Rebel Turns Graffiti Art Upside Down
Artist Evan Roth's award-winning work puts the action in interaction
- By Leah Binkovitz
- Smithsonian magazine, October 2012
Packing for a flight out of Los Angeles last spring, Evan Roth placed a steel plate in his carry-on bag. The phrase “Nothing To See Here” had been cutout of the metal with a laser. As his bag passed through the airport X-ray machine, the Transportation Security Administration screener burst out laughing. “He started calling over other TSA agents to look at it,” Roth recalls. “Some of them thought it was funny and some of them thought it was horrible. You could get the whole spectrum of reactions in that one pass through security.”
Roth’s stunt was part of an ongoing artwork he calls TSA Communication. He puts steel plates bearing messages—“Mind Your Own Business,” “Thanks For Being You”—through airport security, then documents the reactions in photographs and videos. They’re posted on his website, evan-roth.com. That project and others have earned Roth the 2012 Design Award for interactive work from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.