The centerpiece installation of the series is titled Houdini Banned Booty Lock Up, a large, bulletproof, clear Plexi-glass box containing an enormous pile of assorted booty. The entire piece is wrapped in a rusty 60-foot chain and locked with antique padlocks. Two-dozen professional hairdressers’ scissors compose A Cut Above. Needle-nosed pliers and a physician’s reflex hammer must have belonged to Seasoned Travelers. In total the exhibit displays twelve works of art.
When the Transportation Security Administration put its own federal screeners in place on Nov. 19, 2002, it suddenly had to start dealing with the tons of items that errant fliers leave at checkpoints every day. Most recently the TSA started to assess fines ranging from $250 to $10,000 for passengers who violate security policies. Once caught with banned items, passengers have few choices but to surrender the booty, which is how Steve Maloney’s most recent series was conceived.