College delicate in its handling of gun sculpture


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Drizzt
May 11, 2007, 09:09 PM
College delicate in its handling of gun sculpture


By Martina Brendel
THE SALEM NEWS (SALEM, Mass.)

BEVERLY, Mass.
A sculpture of a gun by a Montserrat College of Art student is triggering a debate within the college about the limits of public art.


Sophomore Alexandra Karnoff created the sculpture as a final project for her "Installation, Interior/Exterior" class. She took a toy gun, spray-painted it black, filled it with cement and fastened it to a cement block to later install in a flower bed outside the Hardie Building at 23 Essex St.

The sculpture is intended to spark conversation around the problem of gun violence, Karnoff said. She was inspired to create it after the massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech last month.

"People have a tendency to feel strongly about something just after it's happened, but they tend to forget about it as time goes on," said Karnoff, 21. "I hope that by being confronted by it in a less conventional and more stealthy way, it will help them to coalesce their own personal ideas and opinions around it."

Brian Bicknell, dean of student services, took care to inform the Beverly police about the sculpture. He dropped off a letter Wednesday notifying them that a toy gun would be on display in front of the college and was slightly surprised by their reaction.

"I was a little worried when I went down there that they would say, 'Absolutely not,'" he said. "They just said, 'OK, we'll read it off at roll call so everyone's aware of it.'"

Before the college would allow Karnoff to install her sculpture, it demanded she place a plaque nearby indicating it is a piece of art. It also told her the sculpture would only be on display for 48 hours.

"It's an important issue," Bicknell said. "At the same time, we don't want to throw anyone into a panic attack either. We're trying to figure out how to do both and hope that that's been achieved."

Karnoff agreed to place a plaque near the sculpture bearing the dictionary definition of a gun. She would have preferred for there to be no plaque but understands the college's position.

"The nature of art education is working within the structure and system," she said. "It would be naive for me and all of us to think that my original design would be the end result."

Montserrat College of Art President Stan Trekker said he felt the college has taken the appropriate steps by informing the police about the sculpture. He commended Karnoff for having the courage to pursue such a controversial project.

"I'm really proud of this student that she was so committed to this issue that she wanted to proceed, knowing the sensitivities of the issue," he said. "Sure, it raises questions, but that's exactly what artists do. They raise questions."

Beverly residents Margaret and Sam Scott missed the gun as they walked past the Hardie building Thursday on an evening stroll with their 8-week-old twins and Labrador retriever. On second glance, the couple decided it was "provocative" but also "immature."

"It's potential to unnerve is greater than its value as art," Margaret Scott said.

College officials are scheduled to meet to discuss whether the sculpture will remain in place over the weekend.

http://www.news-tribune.net/features/cnhinsart_story_130233716.html

http://www.news-tribune.net/features/images_sizedimage_130234011/

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Kaylee
May 11, 2007, 09:11 PM
Well.... at least it's a recognizable object, unlike most of the "art" my old college left lying around the grounds. :)

imprezagm4
May 11, 2007, 09:12 PM
Some poor sap is going to walk by, think he scored a new handgun, and be disappointed when he tries to grab it. Cruel artist!

torpid
May 11, 2007, 09:35 PM
Sophomore Alexandra Karnoff created the sculpture practical joke as a final project for her "Installation, Interior/Exterior" class. She took a toy gun, spray-painted it black, filled it with cement and fastened it to a cement block to later install in a flower bed outside the Hardie Building at 23 Essex St.

Titan6
May 11, 2007, 10:30 PM
She called that art? Put out an old Flintlock, Henry Rifle, Python or a Barrett and I might call it art....

Geronimo45
May 11, 2007, 10:45 PM
"It's potential to unnerve is greater than its value as art," Margaret Scott said.
With great difficulty, I am resisting a desire to make a non-High Road wisecrack on the value of this 'sculpture' as 'art'.

Standing Wolf
May 11, 2007, 10:52 PM
If that's art, I'm Siamese twins.

akodo
May 11, 2007, 10:58 PM
okay, this is just silly.

What kind of statement is she trying to make? I am betting it's not 'we should sprinkle the ground with guns in case a crazy shows, we can shoot him!'

I am sure it is more 'we have too mayn guns in america, they are just lying about waiting for someone to pick them up in anger or in ignorance and start killing!'

how does she expect people to react to her scupture? how does she HOPE people will react to her scupture?

The way i see it, every adult who walks by and sees it should immediately phone the police, and that is from a pro-gun point. What does her anti-gun mind hope/expect people to do? Call the police? start evacuating the school? run screaming in fear? try and grab it and shoot someone?

Best case scenario, if she had her way and there was no plaque, the police would be innunduated with phonecalls about it.

PistolNewbie
May 11, 2007, 11:16 PM
Well.... at least it's a recognizable object, unlike most of the "art" my old college left lying around the grounds.
__________________


:what: I couldn't agree more! Anything "art" has always been in the eye of the beholder; the meaning is as vast as the number of people observing the work. This definately doesn't give you a warm fuzzy, but it sure as hell evokes strong emotion and thought. Art usually mirrors life and based on recent events................... :eek: Good job!

GlowinPontiac
May 11, 2007, 11:27 PM
sooner or later somebody is going to come along and grab that and be really surprised when a cinderblock comes up along with it.

Kim
May 12, 2007, 02:16 AM
There has not been any decent ART since the 1800's at least. What we call ART is crap. But I must admit it reflects our popular culture. Useless. Yea it makes you think alright. How ugly, poliltically biased and where has beauty gone? Kinda like all the modern so called poets. Same crap just in words.:neener:

Zoogster
May 12, 2007, 02:29 AM
delete

wacki
May 12, 2007, 04:02 AM
http://img523.imageshack.us/img523/9284/11150357sx6.jpg

lol

Lucky
May 12, 2007, 04:14 AM
Any class that you can pass by assembling 4 products from a dollar store...


But hell yes there's no way her 'art' should not be displayed.


What's with the twin anchor tattoos though, any symbolic meaning?


Akodo, yea her message is anti-freedom. Ironic, isn't it, that they are limiting her freedom to express her anti-freedom display?

rkh
May 12, 2007, 04:25 AM
I'm saddened that the artist wants us to be shocked by a gun facsimile.

xpun8
May 12, 2007, 04:46 AM
What's with the twin anchor tattoos though, any symbolic meaning?


Answer (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_symbolism_of_anchor_tattoos)

Devonai
May 12, 2007, 12:53 PM
Having lived in Beverly for six years and as a frequent visitor, I'm quite familiar with what these students pass off as "art." :rolleyes:

230RN
May 12, 2007, 01:14 PM
Say, isn't painting the red muzzle on a toy gun black illegal?

Arrest her. Arrest her now before she commits more gun crimes.

Actually, I don't give a damn one way or another, art-wise. I appreciate a lot of art and music which is... umm.. "contemporary."

But I'd like this example better if it had another plaque near it which said:

IN MEMORY OF THE 32 WHO DIED AT VIRGINIA TECH BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE HAD A GUN WITH THEM

royh
May 12, 2007, 01:40 PM
Actually, I kind of like it, if only because people will become accustomed to seeing a gun lying there doing nothing.

yhtomit
May 12, 2007, 02:45 PM
Not sure what makes this "anti-gun" or "anti-freedom."

As art, I think it's lousy and forgettable -- but that's not my department; I think *most* art is lousy and forgettable. Just being ambiguous doesn't mean you're profound or subtle -- could be that you're just as confused as you seem to be. But if someone creates a painting / sculpture / poem / bent piece of yarn with the intent that it be art, then it *is* art -- it may just be lame.

That said, from the student's comments, this is one of those "explore the issue of X," "invite the viewer to plumb his own feelings about Z" type artworks; she doesn't say "this is to show that guns are bad," or "this sculpture reminds us that guns kill people" or even "I think that actual guns are filled with concrete."

In that sense, I think it succeeds better than most bad art in the "getting people to think about it" endeavor; maybe some small number of people won't be terrified of the gun as a talisman once they notice that the shape of a gun painted the most evil shade of black available isn't going to leap up and shoot them. Others will no doubt recoil, brag that guns frighten them, and shield their eyes as they walk away. In fact, I would say the "abandoned gun in a garden" look of it (while not deeply moving to me, and high on the Fatuous Tripe scale) is at least pretty clever.

Of course, she could have nailed a nickel to some soft asphalt for some of the same gag effect ;)

timothy

Ritchie
May 12, 2007, 03:09 PM
Perhaps it will sprout and grow, maybe into a Beretta 92 which
it sort of resembles. Reminds me of a combloc joke in which someone
asks his neighbor why he's pouring oil on the garden patch, guy says
"So the guns don't rust".

Gifted
May 12, 2007, 03:10 PM
There has not been any decent ART since the 1800's at least. What we call ART is crap. But I must admit it reflects our popular culture. Useless. Yea it makes you think alright. How ugly, poliltically biased and where has beauty gone? Kinda like all the modern so called poets. Same crap just in words. Nonsense. There's plenty of it, it's just that it's not mainstream. You need to search around on the internet. The popular artists don't rock the boat, and make things wishy washy. Leftists love that stuff, so that's what's "mainstream". I never understood abstract art, really.

XLMiguel
June 5, 2007, 11:35 PM
It's the editorializing, pontificating, and angst over a plastic gun and what it "means" that amazes me. I usta think Kip & Kim on Leno were the epitome of dweeb college kid/dullards. This is a new low.

Namby-pamby, wishy-washy, spineless, gutless whimps . . . :barf::barf::barf:

Prince Yamato
June 5, 2007, 11:55 PM
An anti-gun art student.

You know who else was anti-gun and an art student? Hitler.

How 'bout we debate that on campus?

DRZinn
June 6, 2007, 12:41 AM
I think it's pretty clever, in that you see it as what you want to see it as. I agree she probably had an anti-gun message in mind, but that's not explicit in the "art."

jerkface11
June 6, 2007, 12:53 AM
If she'd taken a crap on a picture of Jesus the school would have no doubt that it was art. They'd display it for more than 48 hours too.

Strings
June 6, 2007, 01:37 AM
Art is something that evokes emotion. So, any of y'all arguing that "it isn't art, and it irritates/pisses me off/disgusts me because..." are missing the point.

Yeah, she might be anti. But her piece WILL evoke emotion (and already is). In that, I'd say she has done better than many "modern artists"...

Neo-Luddite
June 6, 2007, 09:22 AM
It's a 'cute' idea--the kinda thing I might have come up with as a profound vision of my own hippness back in the day at, say, 2 AM.

Think she was disapointed that the police didn't want to 'suppress' her expression? Bet she was.

Is it art? Sure, why not. I can glue a silver dollar to the floor beneath a revolving door at a busy office building entrance and watch people get smacked in the tail trying to pick it up all day, too.



(*just re-read thread--I had missed the bit about nailing down a nickel)

george29
June 7, 2007, 03:22 PM
Moderators, Please remove the offending picture, I'm having a panic-attack. :eek:

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