Visual artist Michael Murphy recently completed Gun Country, an open air art installation that can be found atop the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, MI. The controversial piece used 150 toy guns to create a map of the continental United States. With gun control one of the hottest issues facing the country today, the work is of course generating a lot of discussion.
Still, the artist insists the installation is meant only to provoke discussion, and not to make a statement for one side or the other. He told My Modern Met: “The question I am most commonly asked is whether the work is for or against guns. The answer is that it’s neither. It is intended to stimulate conversation about guns and gun related issues in the US. Every viewer that I have discussed the piece with has seemed inclined to tell me their stance on guns. Through this conversation that the piece inspires, it is my hope that people will think more critically about their stance on guns and gun related issues. I believe that through conversation, thoughts and ideas that are vocalized become their own entity and lend themselves to closer scrutiny and critical reflection.
Michael’s toy gun map of America is a forced perspective, needing to be viewed from the front. You can see a wrap-around view if you’d like in the video at the end of the page. For more on the artist, visit his website.
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