Guns in the Hands of Artists

by Paula Newton December 4, 2015
Mel Chin, Arthur, 2014

Mel Chin, Arthur, 2014

Naturally, during art fairs, gallerists are constantly promoting their booths and their artists. Glasstire received several emails from New Orleans’ Jonathan Ferrara Gallery about its invitation-only exhibition during the current Art Basel Miami fair, Guns in the Hands of Artists. Yesterday, the email was re-sent with the opening sentence, “I wanted to follow-up in light of yesterday’s tragedy in California.”

For the exhibition, 186 guns were taken from the streets of New Orleans and given to thirty artists across mediums to create works of art that address the issue of gun violence in America. The first version of Guns in the Hands of Artists appeared at Jonathan Ferrara’s former gallery, Positive Space the Gallery, in 1996. Most reviews of the various iterations of the show since then have been able to begin with “in light of yesterday’s tragedy in PLACE THIS WEEK’S MASS SHOOTING LOCATION HERE.”

Houston native Mel Chin is one of the artists in this exhibition and it will travel to the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in 2017. Let’s hope any reviews of that show will not have to begin with that awful sentence.

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Susanne Slavick December 17, 2015 - 14:09

So glad to see more artists’ response to this issue. For more artworks, images, info and articles that explore historical and social issues surrounding the availability, use, and impact of guns in our culture, visited UNLOADED at This page extends and expands upon the traveling exhibit UNLOADED, organized by Susanne Slavick.

UNLOADED premiered at SPACE Gallery in Pittsburgh and has traveled to Northern Illinois University Art Museum. Next stops: Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca College, Monday, January 25 – Friday, March 6, 2016; Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids MI, March 31 – May 26, 2016; iMOCA, Indianapolis, October – December 31, 2016; and Harris Art Gallery, University of La Verne, La Verne CA, September – October 2017.

The UNLOADED show presents works by: Lauren F. Adams, Nina Berman, Joshua Bienko, Casey Li Brander, Anthony Cervino, Mel Chin, Cathy Colman, Dadpranks, James Duesing, Jessica Fenlon, Vanessa German, Jinshan, Andrew Ellis Johnson, Jennifer Nagle Myers, Adrian Piper, Don Porcella, Devan Shimoyama, Susanne Slavick, Renee Stout and Stephanie Syjuco.


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