Being an artist and a shooter, I sometimes feel as if I exist in a strange dual world. The art world is very liberal and the gun world most decidedly is not.
I have a degree in fine art and even though I now work as a librarian, I still try to satisfy my desire for color, beauty and good design. I look at magazines, websites, and the world around me to keep my artist's eye active and engaged. Occasionally I'll go to galleries and museums. And in all my looking, I have started to notice something about guns.
Artists and designers use guns to shock the viewer. Somehow just the image of a gun evokes a powerful response. It is a cheap and easy (read: lazy) way to bring attention to your art or design.
Add a gun and suddenly a lamp becomes A LAMP!!
See how easy that is?
The problem with most artists is their woeful ignorance about guns. The following video is a great example. The artist is trying to make a statement about surveillance. Sure it's a clever concept, and yes, it does make the viewer uncomfortable...but why? A viewer who has no experience with guns will have the creepy sensation of, "Oh no! Big Brother is watching me!"
I, on the other hand, would feel...angry? Annoyed? I'm not sure what the exact emotion would be but I would be thinking, "Gah. Dammit. There are guns pointed at me. Rude."
This "work" is from 2004, by Scott Kildall.
The pinnacle of artists' stupidity about guns, however, has to be Chris Burden, performance "artist".
(click all photos to enlarge)
In 1971, he had a friend shoot at him with a rifle. He said that at the moment of being shot he would be a sculpture. Intending to only have the bullet graze his arm, he didn't factor in the sound of the gunshot.