Tuesday, November 13, 2007

art imitates.

Guns and art. Where do they coincide?

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.

He flinched.


Rustmeister said...

The expression in that last photo seems to illustrate the artist best.


BobG said...

What an amazing jackass. I fail to see the artistic merit of having someone shoot you in front of an audience. And how is it art? If it is, Washington DC is filled with aspiring artists...

NotClauswitz said...

That was low and to the right... PerformanceShooter should have held the rifle sideways, like a real gangsta.

Unknown said...

Dang... I commented on this via the LJ RSS feed, and that comment apparently doesn't appear here; and the video clip and subsequent photos and text don't appear there.

Which is a shame, because I sent you something cool, not knowing before this that you are a librarian. I'll know better next time.

Nice soundtrack on the video. Nice comment on the moron. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

bob, you must never use "I fail to see" in response to this stuff. That's just their point, you see: they're artistes, you're a philistine (unfair to actual philistines: screwem), so what can a sophisticate expect?

Under the tutelage of State Art, this game of "what you can get away with" has proliferated so that serious people avoid new art altogether. There are spooky conspiracies of why this came to pass, but I won't blame the big corporations. They, in fact, by embracing [by degrees] some very fine design principles, spoiled us rotten: beautiful products partially fulfill the functions of art that used to drive us to painting and sculpture. Partially.

It's predictable as Hell (hell, it is Hell) that aspiring artists end up mocking the targeted (as't were) forms of purposive machinery: they're trapped in the One Big School system, swimming in the kool-aid, and get infected by the antimimetic and antinomial disease that so putrefies modern aesthetics. Do I sound like Frank O'Connor yet?

Short answer: Filled out application. Received grant. "Made you uncomfortable." By definition, Art accomplished.

Anonymous said...

Damn Comatus, I am certainly grateful for the translation. Until then I didn't have a clue.

Hey! I'm an artiste.

Unknown said...

Rifle bullets travel faster than sound, so flinching at the sound wouldn't affect how he was hit. Either he flinched before the shot was fired, or the aim was bad. (Nelson Rushton)