Saturday, December 15, 2012


I keep thinking about dropping one of my daughters off at the Julia A. Traphagen Elementary School in pastoral Waldwick, NJ -- something I've done dozens of times; hundreds of times, back in the day -- and never seeing her again.  I don't want to, but I can't help myself.  This Connecticut shooting has upset me quite a bit, and it's made me dredge up an old public arts idea of mine.


Imagine, for a moment, that you are the guy in a major metropolitan Police Department (NYC, Albany, Troy, etc) in charge of getting rid of confiscated firearms that are no longer useful as evidence.  I'm not sure how many weapons the Troy PD confiscates in a year, but I can assure you there are a shitload of them sitting in the back room of the NYPD.

Typically these items are shipped to a contractor who melts them down.  The plan on the table is to use them instead to create large spherical public sculptures called PeaceBalls.  Think big snowballs, but with disabled Glocks, Uzis, Smith & Wessons, etc.

Please note the use of the word "disabled" in the previous sentence.

This, titled "Alamo" by Tony Rosenthal, sits famously in Astor Place, a small park in New York City...

Eight feet square.  Weighs about 1800 pounds.  Now imagine if it were a huge ball made of welded-together firearms.  All prickly, with barrels sticking out, all akimbo.  Sorta Jackson Pollock; sorta Louise Bourgeois.  Kinda black; kinda gray.

Now imagine one of these in every major American city.  Plus the Museum of Modern Art.  And the Getty.  And Storm King.

Now imagine how much my paintings would then sell for.  Although it's not about that.  Completely.

Now imagine the level of bureaucratic resistance such an idea will undoubtably encounter.  Enough, certainly, to make a lesser man step away.

Now imagine again how much my paintings would then sell for.

Glocks are made of plastic.  Can you weld them together?
Weld may be the wrong word.  But we're certainly gonna mash them together so that no man may rend them asunder.
Nor, if I might suggest, shoot anybody with them.
Duh.  That's the whole point.

The whole point is that instead of disposing of the things, why not create public art that speaks to one of the dominant themes of American life:  The Second Amendment?


Now imagine a New York City amnesty program in which illegal firearms can be donated for inclusion in a PeaceBall.  No questions asked -- just hand us the gun and get the hell out of here.

Now imagine paraphrasing John Lennon (as if I were worthy):

Now imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one


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