#UNLOAD: Guns in the Hands of Artists will be on view at the Fairfield University Art Museum’s Walsh Gallery from June 1 – October, 2018; an Opening Reception will take place on Thursday, May 31, at 6:00 p.m. in the Walsh Gallery in the Quick Center for the Arts. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.
The Fairfield University Art Museum, in partnership with #UNLOAD and the Guns In The Hands of Artists Foundation, is proud to announce the opening of the exhibition, #UNLOAD: Guns in the Hands of Artists. Each piece in the exhibition was created using decommissioned guns, taken off the streets of New Orleans via a gun buyback program and distributed to internationally-known artists. Painters, glass artists, sculptors, photographers, poets, and other artists used the decommissioned firearms to create works of art that address the complex issue of guns and gun violence. The exhibition originated in mid-1990s New Orleans, where a spiking murder rate led artist Brian Borrello to conceive of the first iteration of the Guns in the Hands of Artists exhibition by bringing the discussion over the role of guns and gun violence in our society into the realm of art — art as the language for dialogue and possibly change without the often partisan and polarized politics that surround the issue. Borrello and gallery owner Jonathan Ferrara mounted this exhibition at Positive Space The Gallery in September 1996 in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans. In 2014, Ferrara revisited the exhibition featuring new work by internationally recognized artists. Through their own medium, each artist has used the decommissioned firearms to create works that express a thought, make a statement, open a discussion, and stimulate thinking about guns in our culture.
This exhibition is a part of #UNLOAD, an arts-based initiative in Connecticut that seeks to drive consensus around the divisive issue of gun violence. Visit the unloadusa.org website for more information about the many events taking place across the state in 2018 that will engage our communities in vibrant dialogue about this important issue. #UNLOAD and the Fairfield University Art Museum believe in the power of the arts to ignite change in society.
In collaboration with the Guns in the Hands of Artists Foundation, #UNLOAD, and the Quick Center for the Arts, the museum hopes to engage partners and collaborators in taking a hard look at the serious public health consequences of gun violence in America. Please check back here often as additional programming is in the works! We hope that the exhibition and the events presented in conjunction with it will offer unique opportunities to engage in the conversation about guns in our society, using art as the catalyst for dialogue.
Image © Luis Cruz Azaceta, courtesy of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery