The suspected "art" project/bomb (via @TSAmedia_LisaF)

The suspected “art” project/bomb (via @TSAmedia_LisaF)

The security theatrics of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may be the cause of great frustration for many travelers, but imagine the anxiety of security staff now forced to play amateur art critic on top of their usual duties. Today, TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein tweeted a photo of an object the organization’s staff encountered at New York’s JFK Airport.

A male artist, according to the Daily News, “got pulled aside when police found a baffling — and alarming — item tucked inside his checked bag: A tin can, with wires running through it, tied to three clusters of green wrapping paper.”

According to Gothamist, the TSA officers who spotted this work “thought it was suspicious due to the way it looked — the can with something in it, some wires and something wrapped in the green plastic.”

The passenger said it was “abstract art,” according to the TSA. After some testing, the agents found the art to be safe (ouch!). The artist has not been identified.

The TSA is accustomed to coming across odd and scary objects entering the US, so much so that the agency created an Instagram account a few years ago to document its curious finds for the public.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

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