Pillowy Gun Sculptures Take Aim at US’ Culture of Violence
by Ashlie Danielle Stevens on April 12, 2016
Installation view of Natalie Baxter’s ‘OK-47’ at Institute 193 gallery in Lexington, Kentucky (photo courtesy of Institute 193)
LEXINGTON, Ken. — Nearly 50 plush guns line the white walls of the small gallery Institute 193. They range in size, pattern, and make: there are fluffy 10 mm. pistols; handguns with hot pink cylinders and gold lamé tips; and rifles with silk-covered barrels that droop, nearly grazing the floor. These pieces are part of Brooklyn-based artist Natalie Baxter’s exhibitionOK-47, which features selections from her Warm Gun series deftly exploring issues of masculinity, mass violence, gun culture, and gun control in the US.
Baxter was inspired to begin the project when she returned home to Kentucky for the holidays in December 2014.
“[I was] at a friend’s house who has a collection of handguns hanging on his wall,” Baxter says. “This was in the wake of Ferguson, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter marches were happening all across the country, and police brutality and gun violence were hot media topics fresh on everyone’s minds.
“So looking at this entire wall covered in guns, it felt uncomfortable and strange, and like something I would never see anywhere in my new home in New York City,” she says.
Natalie Baxter, “Tammy Gun” (2015), fabric and polyfill, 12 x 42 x 8 in (photo by and courtesy the artist)
While being raised in Kentucky, Baxter was introduced to gun culture, but also to the craft of quilting and sewing by her “Appalachian, gun-owning granny.” This seemed the ideal project to blend these two aspects of her upbringing, which Baxter says comes in the wake of having grown up exposed to mass shootings, like watching TV coverage of Columbine when she was in high school, the Virginia Tech shooting while in college, Aurora, Newtown, and, most recently, San Bernardino.
Read the full article via Hyperallergic.