Dan Van Clapp





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January 15, 2009
Happiness is a Fun Gun
The Gun Show at dA Center for the Arts
by Stacy Davies

Just when you thought you were sick of guns – sick of people being shot with them, sick of the NRA making love to them and even sick of Liberals decrying their innate evil – along comes a show that does not make you get political about it, and instead lets you enjoy the artistic side of artillery. And yes, there is one.

Curator Rolo Castillo has put together a mass of guns (he apparently loves them – in an arty way, not a snipery way) creating an arena of inventive, kitchy, electrifying (literally), and even cutesy weaponry that Chuck Heston and Gandhi might find utterly pleasing.

There are larger than life assemblages such as Disco Blood Massacre (in which a '60s-chic mannequin seems unrepentant over her black light/strob flickering mirror ball crime scene) and Richard Ankrom's gun series of hardware re-tooled neon armaments that crackle with 3000 to 7500 volts of electricity, and smaller more subtle paper works like Karen Jaime's psychedelic-swirly "Got Bullets" and Sandy Abramowicz's negative space revolver silhouette surrounded by ink paisleys, "The Gunshot."

Drawing directly on collage-contrast, Dan Van Clapp has converted two baby buggies and a kiddie car into rolling combat units fastened with a gun-boat facade, camo netting, cannons and other major fire-power. Likewise, Phillip Graffham's three bejeweled machine guns of pink, red and multicolored baubles and beads send the armaments straight into Candyland. More whipped cream, please.

Gigantic guns are also around every turn: a life-sized cannon made of recycled garbage (a 2-liter bottle of soda replaces the iron ball and is an apropos subliminal for getting off the pop before your kidneys explode), David Buckingham's exceptionally crafted wall-sized Six Shooter made from painted metal sheets, and at least two other guns bigger than a human torso. But there's more – much more – and with such a variety of form and concept, it seems there really is a gun for everyone. Who knew?