GUNS IN THE HANDS OF ARTISTS

New America Foundation, Washington, DC

September 19 – October 7, 2016

GENERIC ART SOLUTIONS
One Hot Month, 2002-2014
silkscreen on photogram
49 x 84.5 inches
 

As the temperature climbs throughout the sweltering summer months in New Orleans, tempers flare, causing street crime and homicide numbers to jump dramatically. As the days go on and the temperature rises, it becomes common for citizens to read about death by gunshot almost daily. Many of us find ourselves frantically looking for familiar faces in the obituaries, if only to confirm the senseless tragedy of a loved one or neighbor who has fallen victim to gun violence. It is a bitter reality that when young men grow up in a culture flooded with guns, hotheaded youths settle their grievances with lead, not fists.

But gang violence and drug deals gone bad don’t account for all of these killings-there are many innocent victims as well. Babies are born innocent, but all too often they are born into dangerous and volatile environments. How, then, can these children be protected from their surroundings? Family? Religion? More guns?

The genesis of “One Hot Month” was initially an attempt to simply chronicle our environment by clipping the obituaries of “death by gunshot” victims during August 2002, when there was nearly one homicide per day. Their photographs, often outdated and blurry, immediately took the appearance of faded memories. They were hastily catalogued victims of an impulsive action; they were shot and killed in a heated moment-done and gone forever. But we felt these events shouldn’t be swept under the rug so easily. To us, these images represent the need for an examination of the roots of this terminal societal dysfunction.

 For this exhibition, each victim’s picture was silkscreened in gloss black on a unique photogram of a broken handgun recovered from a citywide buyback program. This combines a shadowy effect on something of an x-ray, resulting in 27 haunting memorials laid out as days of the tragic calendar month in which they died. Here, the victims’ likenesses refuse to fade from a broken society threatened to be held captive by the increasingly impulsive actions of heavily armed and troubled youths.

GENERIC ART SOLUTIONS
One Hot Month [detail], 2002-2014
silkscreen on photogram
49 x 84.5 inches

As the temperature climbs throughout the sweltering summer months in New Orleans, tempers flare, causing street crime and homicide numbers to jump dramatically. As the days go on and the temperature rises, it becomes common for citizens to read about death by gunshot almost daily. Many of us find ourselves frantically looking for familiar faces in the obituaries, if only to confirm the senseless tragedy of a loved one or neighbor who has fallen victim to gun violence. It is a bitter reality that when young men grow up in a culture flooded with guns, hotheaded youths settle their grievances with lead, not fists.

But gang violence and drug deals gone bad don’t account for all of these killings-there are many innocent victims as well. Babies are born innocent, but all too often they are born into dangerous and volatile environments. How, then, can these children be protected from their surroundings? Family? Religion? More guns?

The genesis of “One Hot Month” was initially an attempt to simply chronicle our environment by clipping the obituaries of “death by gunshot” victims during August 2002, when there was nearly one homicide per day. Their photographs, often outdated and blurry, immediately took the appearance of faded memories. They were hastily catalogued victims of an impulsive action; they were shot and killed in a heated moment-done and gone forever. But we felt these events shouldn’t be swept under the rug so easily. To us, these images represent the need for an examination of the roots of this terminal societal dysfunction.

 For this exhibition, each victim’s picture was silkscreened in gloss black on a unique photogram of a broken handgun recovered from a citywide buyback program. This combines a shadowy effect on something of an x-ray, resulting in 27 haunting memorials laid out as days of the tragic calendar month in which they died. Here, the victims’ likenesses refuse to fade from a broken society threatened to be held captive by the increasingly impulsive actions of heavily armed and troubled youths.

GENERIC ART SOLUTIONS
Target: Audience (9mm), 2016
vintage gumball machine, plastic casings, 9mm bullets

CLUB S+S
SMAC, 2014
custom formed glass, decommisioned gun parts, gel
8 x 13.5 x 8 inches
Collection of Michael Wilkinson
 

SMAC = second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases.

We suggest here the identification of a novel work of art.
SMAC embodies the idea of activating a programmed cellular death
by promoting apoptosis stimuli. The resulting process gains importance
through the elimination of unwanted organisms or guns.

NEIL ALEXANDER
Growing Up in a Gun Culture, My Son, 1996-2014
sublimated prints on aluminum
2 panels; 43 x 56 inches each

I’ve been making portraits of my son Calder since the very moment he came into this world. Lifted from his mother’s womb and placed on the scale, his pediatric nurse took a measuring tape to him. Click went the shutter. The two images in this exhibition, taken eighteen years apart, are the only formal images I’ve ever made of him naked and the only two of him holding a gun. 

Though Louisiana is proudly known as the Sportsman’s Paradise, I am not a hunter. Despite raising a son and daughter in New Orleans, which to some is known as much for its violence as its vibrant culture, my wife Nancy and I never felt the need to own a firearm for protection, although we have close friends who do. A break-in robbery, two stolen cars, and friends who had similar experiences, never compelled me to change my mind and purchase a gun. Our kids were raised in a home where their dad shot photographs of the city and its people. 

In 1996, as a response to numerous, senseless and violent murders by young men in New Orleans, Brian Borrello put out a call for artists to participate in an exhibit he conceived called “Guns in the Hands of Artists.” My challenge was to create an image that was both disturbing and provocative, an image that challenged our culture’s values. I decided to make a portrait of Calder, naked, innocent, and holding a gun. 

Has anything changed? In the eighteen years since I made that portrait I’ve attended three funerals for victims of gun violence in New Orleans. Two deaths were acquaintances of our family, young black men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The third was a friend, a talented artist and craftsman, who was shot in the back of the head after he dismissed a 14 year-­‐old boy who demanded that he “Give it up” in broad daylight only blocks from the 2004 Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans. 

Over the last two decades our nation has experienced unfathomable acts of gun violence perpetrated by young men in schools, movie theaters, homes, Shopping malls... the list goes on. Just one of these events should have been enough to generate a sea change of public opinion that would send a clear message to our legislators to write new sensible gun laws. Instead, the opposite seems to be true; guns are big business in our democracy.

Our public discourse today is about protecting students by arming teachers. “Open Carry” laws mean you can go into a bar, restaurant, super market, or house of worship ‘armed and protected.’

We live in a world saturated by guns and violence. Graphic content, unspeakable 18 years ago, is everywhere through a seamless delivery of news, video games and media. As a photographer, artist, and father I never imagined I would be creating this diptych. Now, my son and I present here, in this forum, a public declaration. Enough is enough!

KATRINA ANDRY
Disappear, 2014
woodcut monoprint
22 x 62 inches

“Disappear” is a monoprint, using the barrel of a pistol to create a textured background that addresses what’s happening to young black men amidst this city’s violence. Whether young black men are being violently murdered or being locked away in a jail cell for allegedly committing a violent act, but also for falling under the suspicion and judgment of being violent. Our society is mostly scared and suspicious of black men, and not really caring if they disappear whether it’s by the gun or by indefinite jail time. Who cares if they disappear? 

LUIS CRUZ AZACETA
Taperuler Gun, 2014
taperuler and decommissioned handgun
3.5 x 12 inches

Urban violence has been a central theme in my work throughout the years. I’ve always lived in urban centers and have witnessed acts of violence. In Havana, my city of birth, I experienced at a young age daily violence on the streets both pre and post revolution.  In 1960 I left in exile to New York where I became an artist.  Art gave me a voice and weapon to address the human condition.

I am delighted to be part of GUNS IN THE HANDS OF ARTISTS as it is a very important and most needed exhibition that draws upon the rampant crime and guns in the city.

What sustains me as an artist is the belief that art has the power to awaken compassion and hope.

LUIS CRUZ AZACETA
Street Sign, 2014
acrylic, toy gun, wire, wood
100 x 17 inches

​Urban violence has been a central theme in my work throughout the years. I’ve always lived in urban centers and have witnessed acts of violence. In Havana, my city of birth, I experienced at a young age daily violence on the streets both pre and post revolution.  In 1960 I left in exile to New York where I became an artist.  Art gave me a voice and weapon to address the human condition.

I am delighted to be part of GUNS IN THE HANDS OF ARTISTS as it is a very important and most needed exhibition that draws upon the rampant crime and guns in the city.

What sustains me as an artist is the belief that art has the power to awaken compassion and hope.

LUIS CRUZ AZACETA
Shot, 2014
cotton, nails, duct tape and shelf with 6 guns
37 x 48 x 11.5 inches

Urban violence has been a central theme in my work throughout the years. I’ve always lived in urban centers and have witnessed acts of violence. In Havana, my city of birth, I experienced at a young age daily violence on the streets both pre and post revolution.  In 1960 I left in exile to New York where I became an artist.  Art gave me a voice and weapon to address the human condition.

I am delighted to be part of GUNS IN THE HANDS OF ARTISTS as it is a very important and most needed exhibition that draws upon the rampant crime and guns in the city.

What sustains me as an artist is the belief that art has the power to awaken compassion and hope.

LUIS CRUZ AZACETA
Needle Gun, 2014
permanent ink on paper
35.5 x 18 inches

​Urban violence has been a central theme in my work throughout the years. I’ve always lived in urban centers and have witnessed acts of violence. In Havana, my city of birth, I experienced at a young age daily violence on the streets both pre and post revolution.  In 1960 I left in exile to New York where I became an artist.  Art gave me a voice and weapon to address the human condition.

I am delighted to be part of GUNS IN THE HANDS OF ARTISTS as it is a very important and most needed exhibition that draws upon the rampant crime and guns in the city.

What sustains me as an artist is the belief that art has the power to awaken compassion and hope.

LUIS CRUZ AZACETA
Carry On, Drugs, Gun & Teddy Bear, 2014
mixed media with suitcase
39 x 22 x 15 inches

​Urban violence has been a central theme in my work throughout the years. I’ve always lived in urban centers and have witnessed acts of violence. In Havana, my city of birth, I experienced at a young age daily violence on the streets both pre and post revolution.  In 1960 I left in exile to New York where I became an artist.  Art gave me a voice and weapon to address the human condition.

I am delighted to be part of GUNS IN THE HANDS OF ARTISTS as it is a very important and most needed exhibition that draws upon the rampant crime and guns in the city.

What sustains me as an artist is the belief that art has the power to awaken compassion and hope.

JOHN BARNES
Marigny Warning, 2014
decommissioned shotgun barrels and mixed wood
22.5 x 62 x 5 inches

“Marigny Warning” is an artistic response to a tragic shooting that happened
in the Marigny, which is a gentrified or gentrifying historic neighborhood in
New Orleans, it is a gradually changing area with charming creole cottages
and shotgun houses.  It is also experiencing some of the challenges that the
rest of the nation are experiencing such as racial profiling, vigilantism, fear,
distrust, and in some instances conflict.
“Marigny Warning” was developed in June after the Louisiana Supreme Court
exonerated a white male property owner who shot an unarmed black male teen
who jumped his fence.  The teen also lives in that neighborhood, as a renter. 
The sculpture references Louisiana's version of the controversial Stand Your
Ground law which is referred to as the Castle Doctrine.  The property owner shot
the teenager in the head while standing OUTSIDE of his home,
which violates my understanding of the Castle Doctrine.
Those events served as a catalyst for my creative response.  Once I committed
myself to working with these shotguns, the vision of this shotgun house hybrid
immediately surfaced in my mind and as did the text.  I trusted in that vision. 
Throughout the form there are messages that are amalgamated into the layers of wood,
which reference my perceptions about the shooting.  The shotguns are aimed in both
directions out at the world.  Phrases such as "TURN DOWN YOUR MUSIC" represents
a direct warning from within the house when juxtaposed around the shotgun.  The word
CASTLE appears prominently on the roof of the structure.  I used toy blocks to spell out
the warnings, they add a playful yet disarming look to the harshness of the words.  
I also link that shooting and the apparent bending of the rules in its aftermath to current
national events that involve unarmed black male teens being shot by armed white men.

JOHN BARNES
Marigny Warning [detail], 2014
decommissioned shotgun barrels and mixed wood
​22.5 x 62 x 5 inches

“Marigny Warning” is an artistic response to a tragic shooting that happened 
in the Marigny, which is a gentrified or gentrifying historic neighborhood in 
New Orleans, it is a gradually changing area with charming creole cottages 
and shotgun houses.  It is also experiencing some of the challenges that the 
rest of the nation are experiencing such as racial profiling, vigilantism, fear, 
distrust, and in some instances conflict.
“Marigny Warning” was developed in June after the Louisiana Supreme Court 
exonerated a white male property owner who shot an unarmed black male teen 
who jumped his fence.  The teen also lives in that neighborhood, as a renter.  
The sculpture references Louisiana's version of the controversial Stand Your 
Ground law which is referred to as the Castle Doctrine.  The property owner shot 
the teenager in the head while standing OUTSIDE of his home, 
which violates my understanding of the Castle Doctrine.
Those events served as a catalyst for my creative response.  Once I committed 
myself to working with these shotguns, the vision of this shotgun house hybrid 
immediately surfaced in my mind and as did the text.  I trusted in that vision. 
Throughout the form there are messages that are amalgamated into the layers of wood, 
which reference my perceptions about the shooting.  The shotguns are aimed in both 
directions out at the world.  Phrases such as "TURN DOWN YOUR MUSIC" represents 
a direct warning from within the house when juxtaposed around the shotgun.  The word 
CASTLE appears prominently on the roof of the structure.  I used toy blocks to spell out 
the warnings, they add a playful yet disarming look to the harshness of the words.  
I also link that shooting and the apparent bending of the rules in its aftermath to current 
national events that involve unarmed black male teens being shot by armed white men.

RON BECHET
Swords to Ploughshares, 2014
palm fonds, gun parts, paint on wood panel
37 x 42 x 6 inches

The basic structure uses palm fronds, a symbol of peace, like a root structure, returning the gun parts to what they were before they were made to be a weapons. Things are cyclical, and are transformed to another form. I remember these words from the song, “Down by the Riverside”, singing it at family gatherings, in the streets and in churches from the biblical passage Isaiah 2:3 says… “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they study war any more.” Truly, the weapons themselves must be laid down and transformed to a useful tool. Lao Tzu said “We should blunt our sharp points, and unravel the complications of things; we should temper our brightness, and bring ourselves into agreement with the obscurity of others.” Our pride obscures our ability to see each other as human beings with deep faults that need to be solved together for the long cycle rather than what seems to be simple quick solutions. A Bondei proverb says Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. We need more mediators than weapons, more skill development and teaching the skill to work together rather than against one another.  Less weapons of many kinds used against each other to hurt and more skills developed to make more bundles. 

RON BECHET
Why? (Is it Easier to Get a Gun Than an Education, A Gun Instead of Help?), 2014
map, gun parts, paint on wood panel
28 x 38 x 5 inches

One of the first things a mother of a murder victim cries is “Why!” This piece was made to bring those mothers’ cries to our ears. The names are of those who were murdered in the New Orleans area from January 1, 2014 through September 17, 2014. This is a cry for us all to hear, that guns are a problem, but the greater problem is our inability to understand our humanity, live out our values and understand that we are only as strong as our weakest. To solve the problem of violence is to have everyone play a role in helping all understand their value and responsibility as part of our community and neighborhoods.

RON BECHET
Why? (Is it Easier to Get a Gun Than an Education, A Gun Instead of Help?) [detail], 2014
map, gun parts, paint on wood panel
28 x 38 x 5 inches

One of the first things a mother of a murder victim cries is “Why!” This piece was made to bring those mothers’ cries to our ears. The names are of those who were murdered in the New Orleans area from January 1, 2014 through September 17, 2014. This is a cry for us all to hear, that guns are a problem, but the greater problem is our inability to understand our humanity, live out our values and understand that we are only as strong as our weakest. To solve the problem of violence is to have everyone play a role in helping all understand their value and responsibility as part of our community and neighborhoods.

RON BECHET
Why? (Is it Easier to Get a Gun Than an Education, A Gun Instead of Help?) [detail], 2014
map, gun parts, paint on wood panel
28 x 38 x 5 inches

One of the first things a mother of a murder victim cries is “Why!” This piece was made to bring those mothers’ cries to our ears. The names are of those who were murdered in the New Orleans area from January 1, 2014 through September 17, 2014. This is a cry for us all to hear, that guns are a problem, but the greater problem is our inability to understand our humanity, live out our values and understand that we are only as strong as our weakest. To solve the problem of violence is to have everyone play a role in helping all understand their value and responsibility as part of our community and neighborhoods.

MEL CHIN
Arthur, 2014
concrete, two Colt .38 caliber revolvers
67 x 12 x 12 inches
Collection of Lester Marks

This is a Looking (down the barrel) Portrait of infamous killer mobster, Arthur Flegenheimer, AKA "Dutch Schultz". Historical criminals like him, with their guns and larger than life notorious behavior, contribute much to the American fascination with guns, violence, and gangster attitude. The barrels of two .38 Caliber Colt "Specials" form the empty deadly eyes while the grips of the guns emerge from the back of the head.  The guns are locked in this portrait  of concrete, a commentary how guns are embedded deep and dense in the head of our own culture.

MEL CHIN
Arthur [detail], 2014
concrete, two Colt .38 caliber revolvers
​67 x 12 x 12 inches
Collection of Lester Marks

This is a Looking (down the barrel) Portrait of infamous killer mobster, Arthur Flegenheimer, AKA "Dutch Schultz". Historical criminals like him, with their guns and larger than life notorious behavior, contribute much to the American fascination with guns, violence, and gangster attitude. The barrels of two .38 Caliber Colt "Specials" form the empty deadly eyes while the grips of the guns emerge from the back of the head.  The guns are locked in this portrait  of concrete, a commentary how guns are embedded deep and dense in the head of our own culture.

MEL CHIN
Aileen, 2015
concrete, Hi-Standard .22 revolver
64 x 12 x 12 inches

MARGARET EVANGELINE
Disintegrating Relic, 2014
oil on linen
36.5 x 34.25 inches

My thoughts upon receiving a gun from the streets of New Orleans is how to make it disappear, thus the ghostly image on linen. I covered the pistol with wet white paint and pressed it into linen. There is a slick of stand oil spilling over the pistol’s imprint, leaving a kind of stigmata. It looks liturgical, like a Vera Icon (true image) or a relic. Could our enthrallment with guns ever be satisfied with the contemplation of a relic?

SKYLAR FEIN
Kurt Cobong, 2014
Mossberg 500 shotgun, bong, tape
41 x 7 inches

I really couldn’t think of anything to do with the gun. Months went by and I started to experience a light, effervescent panic over the deadline. I made regular work of sketching. Nothing. At one point, I did acid with a friend, and while tripping came up with a piece! Brilliant and devastating, it would galvanize the entire world of conceptual art. It would be called “Loaded Mossberg 500” and consist of that model of shotgun, sitting on a table. That’s it. There would be special protocols: the gun would be loaded with 7 shells — in full view — by an assistant IMMEDIATELY after the gallery opened each day, so the public could verify that it was live ammunition. The same assistant would unload the weapon at the close of each day should all the shells be left. And therein lies the excitement of the whole enterprise. Low odds, but high consequences. There were two problems with this: one, the idea sounded way, WAY better when I was tripping — hilariously, it seemed like MacArthur Grant material — and two, the gallery’s lawyer would not allow it. I doubt the lawyer had anything to do with it. My suspicion is that it was the gallery owner who nixed it. This seems fair enough. It’s not like I can’t imagine his concerns. I tried to rent a room in a downtown office building to do the piece but once I explained the purpose the offer was quickly withdrawn. I offered to maintain an armed security guard next to the piece at all times. No dice. The next day, I went to some other dump in the CBD to check out an office space, planning to be obscure about my purpose, but they had already heard about me and sent me away. One day some stoner kid was in my studio and on his way out the door, said, “You should make a bong out of it.” He said it, but when he said it, it wasn’t arch — he tossed it off, it fell from his lips like a Japanese cherry blossom. Once he'd left, I realized it was the best idea yet. After I made it, this gun became the house bong for a few weeks. It works great, though I haven’t exactly gotten used to putting the muzzle of a shotgun in my mouth. It’s still exciting every time.

JONATHAN FERRARA
Excalibur No More, 2014
Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun, Colorado River rock
44 x 30 x 19 inches
 

I have never owned a gun and wasn’t sure how to go about “acquiring” one for this piece I envisioned…I thought it would be a difficult and cumbersome process.  It actually took about five minutes to buy it…After finding the gun online, the seller brought it to the gallery and I gave him the money and he gave me the gun… that was it …no paperwork, no receipt, no record…totally legal….it blew my mind. Of course, I had to engage in a fifteen minute conversation about the 2nd Amendment with the seller…after that, his son gave me a bandolier of 40 shells and I was armed and ready….

Before inserting the shotgun into the rock, I knew I had to go shoot the shotgun…otherwise it would not be an authentic experience.  I went to a range with a friend who had guns since age 7.  After a brief “ lesson”, I started shooting and I must say it was a total rush…adrenaline flowing, heart pumping, sweat rolling down my face.  The sheer power of the gun scared me and excited something within me at the same time.

The title of this piece and concept is drawn from the proverbial sword in the stone from Arthurian legend, but in this case the gun cannot be removed from the stone as if to say…”Aren't we done?”

RICO GATSON
Gun Drop Echo, 2014
video
Running Time: 8 min 10 sec

When I first saw an image of the guns after they were torched I was struck by how ironic it was that they resembled mangled corpses.  The power of actually handling the guns presented issues for me as they by themselves possess great power.  What came intuitively was to strip them down and to simply film them being dropped in a corner.  Each gun has been striped and all it's parts were dropped.  In post production I slowed the footage down and played with layering and sequencing.  The resulting audio sounds as if the guns are at times being cocked and fired. The echo heightens the effect and or impact.

RICO GATSON
Gun Drop Echo [detail], 2014
video
Running Time: 8 min 10 sec

When I first saw an image of the guns after they were torched I was struck by how ironic it was that they resembled mangled corpses.  The power of actually handling the guns presented issues for me as they by themselves possess great power.  What came intuitively was to strip them down and to simply film them being dropped in a corner.  Each gun has been striped and all it's parts were dropped.  In post production I slowed the footage down and played with layering and sequencing.  The resulting audio sounds as if the guns are at times being cocked and fired. The echo heightens the effect and or impact.

RICO GATSON
Gun Drop Echo [detail], 2014
video
Running Time: 8 min 10 sec

When I first saw an image of the guns after they were torched I was struck by how ironic it was that they resembled mangled corpses.  The power of actually handling the guns presented issues for me as they by themselves possess great power.  What came intuitively was to strip them down and to simply film them being dropped in a corner.  Each gun has been striped and all it's parts were dropped.  In post production I slowed the footage down and played with layering and sequencing.  The resulting audio sounds as if the guns are at times being cocked and fired. The echo heightens the effect and or impact.

MK GUTH
Bang, 2014
steel
5.5 x 7.75 inches

I traded in the box of random revolver parts I received from the gallery for their equal value in steel from a scrap yard that melts down gun parts for the city of Portland Oregon. The steel I received in return contains the remnants of old guns but devoid of it’s original content. “BANG” is a steel plaque reminiscent of old signs, jewelry or address plaques. Melting down the gun parts renders the materials neutral. The text BANG reference’s the materials previous form and points to the prior violence of the original object.

MARCUS KENNEY
Girl with Gun, 2015
sublimated print on aluminum
61.25 x 43.25 inches
Edition of 3, 1 AP

1.7 million  — The number of kids under age 18 who lived in homes with a loaded and unlocked firearm in 2002. (CDC)

1 — The number of states with a law requiring gun owners to lock up their firearm. That state is Massachusetts. (Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence)

I grew up in rural Louisiana in a hunting family. My house was full of guns.  There were guns in corners, under beds, in closets, above the mantel. All loaded and ready to go. My family hunted for deer, rabbits, duck, squirrel, dove, and basically whatever was in season.  Our freezer was always full of game and it is mostly what was served on the dinner table. Guns seemed as natural to me as a fishing pole. It was used for one purpose and nothing else. That was to supply food for us to eat.

The stories are too numerous to count about the accidents that happen when children play with guns that are lying around their homes.  Google “children with guns” and read the horrific and depressing tales of kids accidentally shooting their siblings and friends while playing with guns they should not have had access to.   I believe in our nation’s Second Amendment but I also believe in the responsibility of gun owners. It is my belief that guns should be locked and stored safely away from children’ s access. It would alleviate most accidents involved with children and guns.

The image is of my daughter Helen Estelle.  She is eight years old. It was a rainy Sunday morning and the pistols that I chose for this exhibit were lying on the end- table in our house. (My original intent was to use them in a sculpture for this exhibit.) I looked outside and my daughter had put a trash bag over her body to protect herself from the rain. (Body bag).  She was playing with the pistol and pretend shooting in the air.  I ran and grabbed my camera and made this image.  It could have been a loaded gun. 

DEBORAH LUSTER
Forms of Correspondence, I. (Yes, No, Goodbye), 2014
Winchester 1200 shotgun, cypress, ink, acrylic, crystal
30x 33 x 26 inches

Straight from my heart, fucker! You know what a love letter is?
It’s a bullet from a fucking gun, fucker! You receive a love letter from me,
and you’re fucked forever!

Frank Booth — Blue Velvet

Dear Reader,
The chain of guns and violence that precedes and produces our current
cultural climate is loose but definite within the “chain of causality”.  It translates
mundane whim into morbid outcome and limits the range of our society, invisibly,
even when it is not actively being used to create fear or corpses.
This Talking Board is a chained oracle, an illusion machine, a desperate promise.
It is a technology designed for corresponding with those who have gone
(perhaps you have lost a loved one to gun violence?).
It is a machine of self-fulfilling prophecy. 
Please mind the oracle machine.

 

DEBORAH LUSTER
Forms of Correspondence, I. (Yes, No, Goodbye) [detail], 2014
Winchester 1200 shotgun, cypress, ink, acrylic, crystal
30 x 33 x 26 inches
 

Straight from my heart, fucker! You know what a love letter is?
It’s a bullet from a fucking gun, fucker! You receive a love letter from me,
and you’re fucked forever!

Frank Booth — Blue Velvet

Dear Reader,
The chain of guns and violence that precedes and produces our current
cultural climate is loose but definite within the “chain of causality”.  It translates
mundane whim into morbid outcome and limits the range of our society, invisibly,
even when it is not actively being used to create fear or corpses.
This Talking Board is a chained oracle, an illusion machine, a desperate promise.
It is a technology designed for corresponding with those who have gone
(perhaps you have lost a loved one to gun violence?).
It is a machine of self-fulfilling prophecy. 
Please mind the oracle machine.

BRADLEY MCCALLUM

Smelting: A Gun Legacy, 1996-2014

smelted decommisioned guns

23.5 x 23.5 inches

BRADLEY MCCALLUM
Smelting: A Gun Legacy, 1996-2014
smelted decommissioned guns
23 x 23 inches
Collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody
 

In this live pour, I intend to link performance and object, and bridge my 1996 work The Manhole Cover Project that cast 228 utility cover from 11,194 guns that were confiscated by Connecticut law enforcement to New Orleans’ current effort in transforming weapons into art. During the performance, I will smelt guns taken from the streets of New Orleans along with gun shell casings, and pour this iron-infused brass into a sand-cast impression lifted from the pattern that was used in the Manhole Cover Project. Part alchemy, part historical reference, this transformation and symbolic tracing of a past work aims to remind us that the national conversation around gun violence and ownership has not changed. The object fabricated in this performance will fuse the present with the past -- the metal disc made from the impression of the manhole cover pattern will be penetrated with firearms taken from the streets of New Orleans, to create a touch stone that aims to contribute to the civic discourse concerning gun ownership that is active in this local community.

The epidemic of gun violence that shaped the urban cities in the 1990’s and was a focus of my work for a decade is still active. The mothers who have lost children to gun violence 20 years ago are joined each year in small and large cities alike. Our national policies have not changed and even the most reasonable efforts to enact gun legislation face huge obstacles. Our national attention focuses only momentarily when major tragic acts of violence are in the headlines, but for the thousands of families who have lost loved ones to gun violence and incarceration each year the impact of this public health crises continues to be felt. As artists we can contribute to this essential discourse and to contribute to long overdue change.

ADAM MYSOCK
The Last Six, Under Six, Murdered by a Gun in the Sixth, 2014
acrylic on copper, mounted in wall
14 x 39 inches

Late last year, a local news station was reporting on the shooting death of a 7-month old child. 
As part of their reporting, the anchor described that – since 2010 –
6 children had been “gunned-down” in New Orleans. 
I recognized some of the murder scenes she mentioned as locations within the Central City neighborhood,
where I had witnessed the murder of an unarmed 16 year old a decade ago. 
It turns out that four of those six children were killed in, or near, Central City –
within the city’s Sixth Police District. 
In fact, one child had been gunned-down per year starting in 2010.  Looking into the statistics further,
I discovered that I had to go back to 1994 – one of the most violent years in our city’s history – to even find
another child who had been killed as the result of gunfire. The 16-year lull seemed huge compared to the
short regularity with which kids are being killed now. 
In order to draw attention to the children and the frightening timeline of their murders, I’ll be creating bullet holes
in the gallery wall at measured intervals to serve as a timeline of sorts. 
A portrait will be inserted in each as a reminder of a bullet holes’ effects – the last six children,
under six years old, killed in New Orleans’ Sixth Police District.

ADAM MYSOCK
The Last Six, Under Six, Murdered by a Gun in the Sixth [detail], 2014
acrylic on copper, mounted in wall
14 x 39 inches

Late last year, a local news station was reporting on the shooting death of a 7-month old child. 
As part of their reporting, the anchor described that – since 2010 –
6 children had been “gunned-down” in New Orleans. 
I recognized some of the murder scenes she mentioned as locations within the Central City neighborhood,
where I had witnessed the murder of an unarmed 16 year old a decade ago. 
It turns out that four of those six children were killed in, or near, Central City –
within the city’s Sixth Police District. 
In fact, one child had been gunned-down per year starting in 2010.  Looking into the statistics further,
I discovered that I had to go back to 1994 – one of the most violent years in our city’s history – to even find
another child who had been killed as the result of gunfire. The 16-year lull seemed huge compared to the
short regularity with which kids are being killed now. 
In order to draw attention to the children and the frightening timeline of their murders, I’ll be creating bullet holes
in the gallery wall at measured intervals to serve as a timeline of sorts. 
A portrait will be inserted in each as a reminder of a bullet holes’ effects – the last six children,
under six years old, killed in New Orleans’ Sixth Police District.

ADAM MYSOCK
The Last Six, Under Six, Murdered by a Gun in the Sixth [detail], 2014
acrylic on copper, mounted in wall
14 x 39 inches

Late last year, a local news station was reporting on the shooting death of a 7-month old child. 
As part of their reporting, the anchor described that – since 2010 –
6 children had been “gunned-down” in New Orleans. 
I recognized some of the murder scenes she mentioned as locations within the Central City neighborhood,
where I had witnessed the murder of an unarmed 16 year old a decade ago. 
It turns out that four of those six children were killed in, or near, Central City –
within the city’s Sixth Police District. 
In fact, one child had been gunned-down per year starting in 2010.  Looking into the statistics further,
I discovered that I had to go back to 1994 – one of the most violent years in our city’s history – to even find
another child who had been killed as the result of gunfire. The 16-year lull seemed huge compared to the
short regularity with which kids are being killed now. 
In order to draw attention to the children and the frightening timeline of their murders, I’ll be creating bullet holes
in the gallery wall at measured intervals to serve as a timeline of sorts. 
A portrait will be inserted in each as a reminder of a bullet holes’ effects – the last six children,
under six years old, killed in New Orleans’ Sixth Police District.

ADAM MYSOCK
Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun (Last Judgment), 2014
after: Hans Memling's "The Last Judgment" Tritych (c. late 1460's),
Bambi's mother from Disney's "Bambi" (1942)
acrylic on panel, mounted on a J.P. Sauer Sohn shotgun
12.5 x 47 x 21 inches

Anytime a gun is fired, a last judgment is generated; a shooter is making an
irreversible assessment about their target’s worth and virtue. 
Anyone pulling a trigger assumes the God-like responsibility of ruling over another entity’s fate.
Unfortunately, too often that actuality is far more apparent to the target than it is to the marksman. 
For this piece, I’m offering viewers the chance to voluntarily put themselves in the position of
target in order to observe the last judgments inherent within a firearm. 
Looking down the left barrel of the gun, one can see the good rising to enter the Gates of Heaven. 
Looking down the right, the evil being cast into Hell. 
Through the lower channel, the viewer is supplied with a visual reminder of my earliest awareness
of a gun’s finality – a vision of Bambi’s mother just before she’s shot. 

ADAM MYSOCK
Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun (Last Judgment) (detail), 2014
after: Hans Memling's "The Last Judgment" Tritych (c. late 1460's),
Bambi's mother from Disney's "Bambi" (1942)
acrylic on panel, mounted on a J.P. Sauer Sohn shotgun
12.5 x 47 x 21 inches

Anytime a gun is fired, a last judgment is generated; a shooter is making an
irreversible assessment about their target’s worth and virtue. 
Anyone pulling a trigger assumes the God-like responsibility of ruling over another entity’s fate.
Unfortunately, too often that actuality is far more apparent to the target than it is to the marksman. 
For this piece, I’m offering viewers the chance to voluntarily put themselves in the position of
target in order to observe the last judgments inherent within a firearm. 
Looking down the left barrel of the gun, one can see the good rising to enter the Gates of Heaven. 
Looking down the right, the evil being cast into Hell. 
Through the lower channel, the viewer is supplied with a visual reminder of my earliest awareness
of a gun’s finality – a vision of Bambi’s mother just before she’s shot. 

ADAM MYSOCK
Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun (Last Judgment) (detail), 2014
after: Hans Memling's "The Last Judgment" Tritych (c. late 1460's),
Bambi's mother from Disney's "Bambi" (1942)
acrylic on panel, mounted on a J.P. Sauer Sohn shotgun
12.5 x 47 x 21 inches

Anytime a gun is fired, a last judgment is generated; a shooter is making an
irreversible assessment about their target’s worth and virtue. 
Anyone pulling a trigger assumes the God-like responsibility of ruling over another entity’s fate.
Unfortunately, too often that actuality is far more apparent to the target than it is to the marksman. 
For this piece, I’m offering viewers the chance to voluntarily put themselves in the position of
target in order to observe the last judgments inherent within a firearm. 
Looking down the left barrel of the gun, one can see the good rising to enter the Gates of Heaven. 
Looking down the right, the evil being cast into Hell. 
Through the lower channel, the viewer is supplied with a visual reminder of my earliest awareness
of a gun’s finality – a vision of Bambi’s mother just before she’s shot. 

TED RIEDERER
Of Guns and Drums, 2014
marching band bas drum, stand, digitally printed drum heads and
drum mallets made from reclaimed shotgun barrels
33 x 31 x 18.5 inches
 

Of guns, and drums, and wounds—God save the mark!—
And telling me the sovereignest thing on earth
Was parmacety for an inward bruise,
And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villanous saltpeter should be digged
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed
So cowardly,


- Henry IV, William Shakespeare

Though burnt, cut, and smashed, these reclaimed guns from the New Orleans Police Department
possess a potential power. Covered in soot and oil, heavy to hold, mute, they have a
“sinister resonance”, to borrow a phrase from writer David Toop. We are caught between the
last echo of their discharge and eternity, an echo away from the startling moment a gun is fired.
So what to do with these accursed objects?
How do we cleave this “confiscated evidence” from the crimes that it has been used to commit?
I think of a famous photograph, Bernie Boston’s “Flower Power”, which depicts a hippie placing carnations
in the gun barrels of military policemen during a 1967 anti-Vietnam protest at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C..
The act of adorning the guns with flowers symbolically strips the MP’s power to intimidate.
As an artist, I traffic in sound and imagery. As a musician, I am always concerned with evoking meaning
through music. As sound effects for films, drums and percussion have often been used by Foley Stage
artists to represent the sounds of war. A snare drum might be used to enhance the
sound of a machine gun, a de-tuned kettle drum an explosion. In a lecture on editing sound for film,
Oscar winner Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, Cold Mountain) says,
“You think about it, every language is basically a code, with its own particular set of rules.
You have to understand those rules in order to break open the husk of language and extract whatever
meaning is inside…Sound, in this case, is acting simply as a vehicle with which to deliver the code…
Music, however, is completely different: it is sound experienced directly, without any code intervening
between you and it. Naked. Whatever meaning there is in a piece of music is ‘embodied’ in the sound itself.”
Instead of flowers, I place drum mallets into the barrels of guns, with the hope that by repurposing them
as musical instruments, I can is some way channel the echo from when the guns
were fired into something constructive, something creative. 
As drum and bugle corps throughout history have led soldiers to battle, the trope
“drums of war” has been in use from Greece to the Civil War to Syria.
What of turning weapons into musical instruments instead of ploughshares?
Can we imagine these symbols of violence as instruments of music and by doing so imagine peace?

TED RIEDERER
Of Guns and Drums [detail], 2014
marching band bas drum, stand, digitally printed drum heads and
drum mallets made from reclaimed shotgun barrels
33 x 31 x 18.5 inches

Of guns, and drums, and wounds—God save the mark!—
And telling me the sovereignest thing on earth
Was parmacety for an inward bruise,
And that it was great pity, so it was,
This villanous saltpeter should be digged
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed
So cowardly,

- Henry IV, William Shakespeare

Though burnt, cut, and smashed, these reclaimed guns from the New Orleans Police Department
possess a potential power. Covered in soot and oil, heavy to hold, mute, they have a
“sinister resonance”, to borrow a phrase from writer David Toop. We are caught between the
last echo of their discharge and eternity, an echo away from the startling moment a gun is fired.
So what to do with these accursed objects?
How do we cleave this “confiscated evidence” from the crimes that it has been used to commit?
I think of a famous photograph, Bernie Boston’s “Flower Power”, which depicts a hippie placing carnations
in the gun barrels of military policemen during a 1967 anti-Vietnam protest at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C..
The act of adorning the guns with flowers symbolically strips the MP’s power to intimidate.
As an artist, I traffic in sound and imagery. As a musician, I am always concerned with evoking meaning
through music. As sound effects for films, drums and percussion have often been used by Foley Stage
artists to represent the sounds of war. A snare drum might be used to enhance the
sound of a machine gun, a de-tuned kettle drum an explosion. In a lecture on editing sound for film,
Oscar winner Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now, The English Patient, Cold Mountain) says,
“You think about it, every language is basically a code, with its own particular set of rules.
You have to understand those rules in order to break open the husk of language and extract whatever
meaning is inside…Sound, in this case, is acting simply as a vehicle with which to deliver the code…
Music, however, is completely different: it is sound experienced directly, without any code intervening
between you and it. Naked. Whatever meaning there is in a piece of music is ‘embodied’ in the sound itself.”
Instead of flowers, I place drum mallets into the barrels of guns, with the hope that by repurposing them
as musical instruments, I can is some way channel the echo from when the guns
were fired into something constructive, something creative. 
As drum and bugle corps throughout history have led soldiers to battle, the trope
“drums of war” has been in use from Greece to the Civil War to Syria.
What of turning weapons into musical instruments instead of ploughshares?
Can we imagine these symbols of violence as instruments of music and by doing so imagine peace?

PETER SARKISIAN
Recoil, 2014
table, gun, book, ceramic plate, photographic paper, video projection, audio
28 x 31 x 20 inches

Referencing both Film Noir and still-life composition, Peter Sarkisian’s Recoil begins as a 1940’s surreal tableau, in which a gun rests with other objects on a floral pattern tablecloth.  A cinematic element is revealed, as embroidered flowers on the tablecloth appear to flutter gently, then pull free and tumble into the gun barrel.  More surface detail soon becomes caught in the suction and is drawn toward the gun; the figure of a man struggles while being dragged from the frame of a photograph; text is ripped from the pages of a book; an egg drains from a ceramic plate.  Each element in turn disappears into the muzzle, leaving behind a blank diorama of lifeless grey props. 

Recoil reverses typical associations with the gun as being only an instrument, instead portraying it as both the cause and reason for loss.

PETER SARKISIAN
Recoil [detail], 2014
table, gun, book, ceramic plate, photographic paper, video projection, audio
28 x 31 x 20 inches

Referencing both Film Noir and still-life composition, Peter Sarkisian’s Recoil begins as a 1940’s surreal tableau, in which a gun rests with other objects on a floral pattern tablecloth.  A cinematic element is revealed, as embroidered flowers on the tablecloth appear to flutter gently, then pull free and tumble into the gun barrel.  More surface detail soon becomes caught in the suction and is drawn toward the gun; the figure of a man struggles while being dragged from the frame of a photograph; text is ripped from the pages of a book; an egg drains from a ceramic plate.  Each element in turn disappears into the muzzle, leaving behind a blank diorama of lifeless grey props. 

Recoil reverses typical associations with the gun as being only an instrument, instead portraying it as both the cause and reason for loss.

PETER SARKISIAN
Recoil [detail], 2014
table, gun, book, ceramic plate, photographic paper, video projection, audio
28 x 31 x 20 inches

Referencing both Film Noir and still-life composition, Peter Sarkisian’s Recoil begins as a 1940’s surreal tableau, in which a gun rests with other objects on a floral pattern tablecloth.  A cinematic element is revealed, as embroidered flowers on the tablecloth appear to flutter gently, then pull free and tumble into the gun barrel.  More surface detail soon becomes caught in the suction and is drawn toward the gun; the figure of a man struggles while being dragged from the frame of a photograph; text is ripped from the pages of a book; an egg drains from a ceramic plate.  Each element in turn disappears into the muzzle, leaving behind a blank diorama of lifeless grey props. 

Recoil reverses typical associations with the gun as being only an instrument, instead portraying it as both the cause and reason for loss.

ROBERT C. TANNEN
Specie-Men Gun Parts in a Bottle, 2014
decommissioned handguns in glass bottle
10 x 5 x 5 inches

At the age of 11 or 12, I bought a Red Ryder Daisey BB gun, while living in Sea Gate the first gated private community in New York City, where guns were only used by a private police force and at a Pop Up WW 2 army base to protect NYC from a Nazi Submarine attack. At an earlier age I experienced cowboy and Indian western movies with lots of guns, shooting and killing both on television and at Coney Island movie theatres. I was invited by my uncle Louis Alperone to join him and others for a hunting trip to a farm in Walden NY. I took my BB gun and cowboy hat on the trip. While I was trying out my new BB gun by aiming at some small birds in trees, I was astonished and distraught to see that I had shot and killed a bird.  Many years later, in 1963, I found a

22 caliber rifle in a farm house where I was living and teaching art and architecture at a new experimental college, Franconia College in New Hampshire. Then, thinking about my earlier, disturbing, bird killing experience, I decided to make art by shooting rats at the local garbage dump and putting them in plastic bags and bottles with formaldehyde. For the next few years I put dead cats and birds which I found and a dead lamb from a butcher shop in bags and bottles. The lamb, missing one leg, was exhibited at the Park Place Gallery in NYC in 1964.

During the last 50 years I have not used a gun for any purpose except for wrapping a rifle with aluminum wire, and for the first gun show, by Jonathan Ferrara on Magazine Street, where I exhibited by hanging a working and loaded 38 caliber pistol which was stolen during the show. For the current show, Art in the Hands of Artists, I have used the remains of former confiscated weapons to make a 1/2 Gallon Specie-Men's Bottle of destroyed weapons. I have also combined several gun parts to make a quadruple barreled toy pistol. I think that the number 4 means death in Chinese. I have attached the barrel end of a decommissioned shotgun to a galvanized Double Shotgun House sculpture.

My direct and personal experience with guns for shooting people, and people getting shot, only began after moving to New Orleans where I have lost several close and less close friends and acquaintances to guns. A young man held me up with a toy gun in front of my house who was later captured with his toy gun. At the time of the hold up, the toy gun appeared very real.

ROBERT C. TANNEN
Four Barreled Handgun, 2014
decommissioned handguns
8 x 6 x 3 inches

At the age of 11 or 12, I bought a Red Ryder Daisey BB gun, while living in Sea Gate the first gated private community in New York City, where guns were only used by a private police force and at a Pop Up WW 2 army base to protect NYC from a Nazi Submarine attack. At an earlier age I experienced cowboy and Indian western movies with lots of guns, shooting and killing both on television and at Coney Island movie theatres. I was invited by my uncle Louis Alperone to join him and others for a hunting trip to a farm in Walden NY. I took my BB gun and cowboy hat on the trip. While I was trying out my new BB gun by aiming at some small birds in trees, I was astonished and distraught to see that I had shot and killed a bird.  Many years later, in 1963, I found a

22 caliber rifle in a farm house where I was living and teaching art and architecture at a new experimental college, Franconia College in New Hampshire. Then, thinking about my earlier, disturbing, bird killing experience, I decided to make art by shooting rats at the local garbage dump and putting them in plastic bags and bottles with formaldehyde. For the next few years I put dead cats and birds which I found and a dead lamb from a butcher shop in bags and bottles. The lamb, missing one leg, was exhibited at the Park Place Gallery in NYC in 1964.

During the last 50 years I have not used a gun for any purpose except for wrapping a rifle with aluminum wire, and for the first gun show, by Jonathan Ferrara on Magazine Street, where I exhibited by hanging a working and loaded 38 caliber pistol which was stolen during the show. For the current show, Art in the Hands of Artists, I have used the remains of former confiscated weapons to make a 1/2 Gallon Specie-Men's Bottle of destroyed weapons. I have also combined several gun parts to make a quadruple barreled toy pistol. I think that the number 4 means death in Chinese. I have attached the barrel end of a decommissioned shotgun to a galvanized Double Shotgun House sculpture.

My direct and personal experience with guns for shooting people, and people getting shot, only began after moving to New Orleans where I have lost several close and less close friends and acquaintances to guns. A young man held me up with a toy gun in front of my house who was later captured with his toy gun. At the time of the hold up, the toy gun appeared very real.

ROBERT C. TANNEN
Double Barreled Shotgun House, 2014
decommissioned shotgun barrel and sheetmetal
3 x 39 x 4 inches

At the age of 11 or 12, I bought a Red Ryder Daisey BB gun, while living in Sea Gate the first gated private community in New York City, where guns were only used by a private police force and at a Pop Up WW 2 army base to protect NYC from a Nazi Submarine attack. At an earlier age I experienced cowboy and Indian western movies with lots of guns, shooting and killing both on television and at Coney Island movie theatres. I was invited by my uncle Louis Alperone to join him and others for a hunting trip to a farm in Walden NY. I took my BB gun and cowboy hat on the trip. While I was trying out my new BB gun by aiming at some small birds in trees, I was astonished and distraught to see that I had shot and killed a bird.  Many years later, in 1963, I found a

22 caliber rifle in a farm house where I was living and teaching art and architecture at a new experimental college, Franconia College in New Hampshire. Then, thinking about my earlier, disturbing, bird killing experience, I decided to make art by shooting rats at the local garbage dump and putting them in plastic bags and bottles with formaldehyde. For the next few years I put dead cats and birds which I found and a dead lamb from a butcher shop in bags and bottles. The lamb, missing one leg, was exhibited at the Park Place Gallery in NYC in 1964.

During the last 50 years I have not used a gun for any purpose except for wrapping a rifle with aluminum wire, and for the first gun show, by Jonathan Ferrara on Magazine Street, where I exhibited by hanging a working and loaded 38 caliber pistol which was stolen during the show. For the current show, Art in the Hands of Artists, I have used the remains of former confiscated weapons to make a 1/2 Gallon Specie-Men's Bottle of destroyed weapons. I have also combined several gun parts to make a quadruple barreled toy pistol. I think that the number 4 means death in Chinese. I have attached the barrel end of a decommissioned shotgun to a galvanized Double Shotgun House sculpture.

My direct and personal experience with guns for shooting people, and people getting shot, only began after moving to New Orleans where I have lost several close and less close friends and acquaintances to guns. A young man held me up with a toy gun in front of my house who was later captured with his toy gun. At the time of the hold up, the toy gun appeared very real.

NICHOLAS VARNEY
Onegin, 2014
decommissioned gun, and bullet comprised of 18K yellow gold,
D/E/F/IF/VVS colorless diamonds weighing 1.64 carats

Onegin is named after the Alexander Pushkin book “Eugene Onegin,” which tells of a man whose life was led in the great glamour of the time in palace parties and languid to torrid love affairs. Onegin killed his best friend in an incident over a woman. The gun of cause transformed his life and gave birth to Tchaikovsky’s greatest opera.

Juxtaposition is the key element to punctuating any precious stone. Set a diamond in wood and watch it become more striking as a result of the wood serving as its foil. The stone seems brighter and gains importance and a new dialogue begins. We have taken the same premise that the jewelry has always had and applied it to the debate for this show. The bullet is comprised of 18K gold and colorless diamonds. Hopefully, the brightness of the bullet sheds light on the gun and all of its significance within New Orleans; A city known for its singular splendor and its foil. It is a gem after all.

WILLIAM VILLALONGO
Sleeping on Reason, 2014
gun, ceramic head, velvet flock, velvet pillow in 
plexiglass box
12.25 x 12.25 x 8 inches
 

“Sleeping on Reason” is constructed from a small revolver and the head of a black glazed ceramic child. The gun is coated with velvet fibers and rests on a small red velvet pillow. The black ceramic head replaces the revolver’s bullet chamber. The piece is meant to be somewhat perversely symbolic; collapsing the gun and the many young victims of gun violence. The title refers to Francisco de Goya’s “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters;” a quintessentially dark vision of humanity that, whether intended or not, takes the Enlightenment period to task as its awakening of sensitivity to the arts, math and science coincides with some of the most brutal acts of humanity. I am reminded that we live in a society of many contradictions. The notion that we have achieved an egalitarian society tempered by laws becomes brittle when one contemplates that in the United States it is easier to buy a gun than it is to vote. Perhaps this is what Goya meant by the caption accompanying the print: “Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts and source of their wonders.”

SIDONIE VILLERE
Residual, 2014
plywood, acrylic, gun cylinders, muslin and plaster
46 x 38 x 3 inches

My work has always explored the contradictions of self-preservation. With Residual I am using the physical relationship between the rusted cylinders and the muslin to illustrate the emotionally conflicted relationship that we have with guns.  They are a survival strategy that both help us and harm us. I am commenting on the toxic results of this relationship.

SIDONIE VILLERE
Residual [detail], 2014
plywood, acrylic, gun cylinders, muslin and plaster
46 x 38 x 3 inches

My work has always explored the contradictions of self-preservation. With Residual I am using the physical relationship between the rusted cylinders and the muslin to illustrate the emotionally conflicted relationship that we have with guns.  They are a survival strategy that both help us and harm us. I am commenting on the toxic results of this relationship.

PAUL VILLINSKI
Epitaph, 2014
shotgun, aluminum [found can], soot, steel
37 x 5.25 x 5.25 inches
Collection of Nick Mayor and Jessica Bride

We are obsessed with our guns, all 300 million of them. Guns fundamentally do one thing: destroy life – take something away. Art does the opposite. Imagine if everyone with a gun in their hand held a tool or a brush instead.

PAUL VILLINSKI
Mourn, 2014
handgun, aluminum [found can], soot, steel
11.75 x 6 x 4.5 inches
Collection of Amy Glovinsky

We are obsessed with our guns, all 300 million of them. Guns fundamentally do one thing: destroy life – take something away. Art does the opposite. Imagine if everyone with a gun in their hand held a tool or a brush instead.