VICE News Tonight: The Man Who Snuck Secret Political Messages Into Melrose Place

This segment originally aired Oct. 17, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

Most people know Melrose Place as a core pillar of primetime television drama throughout much of the 1990s; few to none realize it was also on the avant garde of conceptual art and submerged political messaging.

The artistic experiment was the brainchild of conceptual artist Mel Chin, who spent years sneaking political messages— such as sex education and human rights symbols — past the Federal Communications Commission, and onto a show that drew an average of 13 million viewers.

VICE News culture correspondent Mary H.K. Choi met up with Chin in New York City where his covert prop work is now on display.

“We were doing something very unexpected,” he says of the work he and his team did during their tenure on the ’90s primetime soap opera, and believes it can be a model for other artists too. “This kind of project is open for anyone to copy, or emulate or transcend.”

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