The Gun: Icon of Twentieth Century Art

January 27, 1996 - March 9, 1996

Ubu Gallery presented works of art by a diverse group of modern and contemporary artists, in which the image of the gun was incorporated. The media shown in this exhibition included objects, collages, assemblages, paintings, drawings, prints and photographs. The Gun: Icon of Twentieth Century Art explored the role of this ‘loaded’ icon, whose cultural role and presence has influenced its visual significance. The gun is charged with paradoxical associations: for some it may arouse fear and images of violence, while others may view it as a harbor of safety and source of protection. As an object divorced from its functionality, its advanced design, ergonomic form and heft lend it sculptural and graphic significance. Yet its pervasive presence in action films and pop culture trivializes its potency. Perhaps it is just this ambiguity that has attracted a wide range of artists to incorporate gun imagery into their work. In counter to the “charge’ that Ubu could be seen as glorifying guns through this exhibition, we solicited contributions for the benefit of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

Berenice Abbott, Arman, Joan Barker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Douglas Beube, Gary Brotmeyer, Jonathan Borofsky, William S. Burroughs & John Giorno, Buster Cleveland, Oscar Dominguez, Elliot Erwitt, Andreas Feininger, Charles Henri Ford, Gilles Gheerbrant, Al Hansen, Geoffrey Hendricks, George Herms, Rebecca Horn, Georges Hugnet, William Klein, Steven Kroninger, Roy Lichtenstein, Susan Lipper, Donald Lipski, Helmut Löhr, Marcel Mariën, Robert Mapplethorpe, Larry Miller, Helmut Newton, Yoko Ono, Tom Otterness, Ed Paschke, Sharon Pettus, James Prez, Man Ray, Carl Frederik Reutersward, Tom Sachs, Nikki de Saint-Phalle, Jindřich Štyrský, Donald Sultan, Robert The, Arthur Tress, Ted Victoria, Jacques Villeglé, Andy Warhol, Robert Watts, Weegee, Joyce Weiner, H.C. Westermann, David Wojnarowicz, Holly Wright

Exhibition checklist
Press release
Announcement edition ubu #7

Time Out New York / Reviews / February 14–21, 1996 / Tim Griffin / 1 reproduction
New York Magazine / Art: On View / February 19, 1996 / 1 reproduction