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Art & Art History

Arresting Images

Monday, August 21, 1995–Saturday, September 30, 1995

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Artists: John Arndt, John Baldessari, Christa Black, Mel Chin, Jodi Darby, Davis and Davis, Jimmie Durham, Robert Flack, Nancy Floyd, Gregory Green, David Humphrey, Marta Huszar, Gary Lang, Bradley McCallum, Michael Minelli, Victor Ochoa, VA de Pintor, Ian Pollock and Janet Silk, Anne Rowland, Maciej Toporowicz, and Kean Wilcox

The works presented in Arresting Images, curated by Karen Indeck, are a response to the growing concern of artists over the use and abuse of weapons in our society. Many of the works in the exhibition confront the violence and aggression of today ’s society, while others react to the powerlessness and senselessness of the system of which they are a part, and still others relay information in a narrative format. Weapons emerge as symbols and symptoms of social, cultural, economic, and psychological dysfunctions and become metaphors for the profound disparities of the human condition. This exhibition addresses the dialogue around weapons, their uses and meanings as well as their relationship to our culture.

Weapons have existed as cultural artifacts since the beginning of time. Traditionally, museums make available presentations of these objects as cultural artifacts and testaments to a society. They are objects stripped of their context and tastefully exhibited as individual specimens in isolation. The weapons in this exhibition are recontextualized out of a sociocultural context and taken out of a neutral position. In his review of the exhibition, Fred Camper wrote, “Many of these thirty-five pieces by twenty-three artists are complex and thought provoking. Most of the best pieces acknowledge a fascination—sometimes the artist ’s own—with guns, or violence, even while condemning it. This is appealing to those of us who subscribe to the truth of Pogo ’s immortal aphorism: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Arresting Images investigates issues about weapon control, power versus weakness, position/status, the psychological state (hysteria and paranoia opposed to authority and command), the mass media connection, identity, stereotyping, space (public and private: domestic and community), resistance versus acceptance, and the role these weapons play in our culture. In some cases the artists ’ work does not support a “positive image” but an in-your-face, non-apologetic acceptance of the state of weapons in our society, and in other cases the works act as a signifier or interpreter of this era. Weapons are examined on both the micro (psychological/private) and on the larger macro (political, social, cultural) levels of analyses.


John Arndt

, 1992
Mixed media (cement and gun), 5 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.

John Baldessari

Falling Star
, 1989–90
Photogravure etching with color aquatint, 62 1/2 x 20 5/8 in.

Christa Black

Silkscreen on paper, 17 x 29 in.

Semi Automatic, 1992
Wallpaper, lightboxes, and photographs, dimensions variable

Mel Chin

Combo Club,
Etching, 15 x 25 in.

Night Rap, 1993
Polycarbic plastic, steel, night stick, and transmitter, 24 x 1 13/16 x 5 1/2 in.

Jodi Darby

Exploding Children’s Toy, 1994
Mixed media, 11 x 10 x 1 1/2 in.

Denise Davis and Scott Davis

Tearful/Earful, 1993
Photographic print, 20 x 24 in.

Jimmie Durham

Untitled, 1992
Mixed media, 30 x 57 x 40 in.

Robert Flack

Untitled (From the Series Love Mind), 1992
C-print, 20 x 16 in.

Nancy Floyd

At a Young Age She Learns What Stopping Power Is,
C-print, 22 x 22 3/4 in.

Carolyn Saul, Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum and Bumper, 1993
C-print, 22 x 22 3/4 in.

Gregory Green

Computer Virus Set, 1994
Computer discs and case, 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (discs)

David Humphrey

Spankers, 1993
Oil on canvas, 72 x 60 in.

Annetta Kapon

Stuffed Guns
, 1993
Mixed media (fabric), each 12 x 9 x 4 in.

Bradley McCallum

Adrenaline, 1993
Mixed media (lexan, handgun, and text), 12 x 12 x 2 1/2 in.

Living Spread-Eagled on His Back, 1993
Glass, gun, brick, and text, 12 x 12 x 3 in.

Michael Minelli

His Talk/Her Teeth: Chapter 2, 1994–95
Clay figure, pencil, cardboard, and wood, 3 1/2 x 10 x 16 in.

His Talk/Her Teeth: Chapter 3
, 1994–95
Clay, rubber figures, pencil, cardboard, and wood, 12 x 16 x 39 1/2 in.

Victor Ochoa

David’s Choice,
Glass, alcohol, lighter, and rag, 8 x 3 x 3 in.

Shotgun, 1994

Mixed media (shotgun parts, shells), 10 x 14 x 3 in.

Vinyl Gun
, 1995
Mixed media (vinyl, handgun, wire, and lead), 5 x 9 x 2 in.

Vinyl Rifle, 1995
Mixed media (vinyl, rifle, and lead), 6 x 29 x 3 in.

VA de Pintor

Victim: Between Reason and Feeling, 1994
Latex, acrylic, and wax on canvas, 6 x 4 in.

Ian Pollock and Janet Silk

Bouquet, 1995
Photography, mural print and 346 color prints, 4 x 4 ft. and 5 x 5 in.

Zip Gun, 1993
Plumbing hardware, saw handle, and bullets, 12 1/4 x 14 x 7 in.

Anne Rowland

Amazon Backwards on Horse, 1993
Color coupler print, 30 x 40 in.

Aphrodite Gesturing with Middle Finger
, 1993
Color coupler print, 40 x 30 in.

Artemis with Grenade, 1993
Color coupler print, 40 x 30 in.

Nike with G.I. Joe Arms and Accessories, 1994
Color coupler print, 40 x 30 in.

Maciej Toporowicz

Self-Portrait with Knife,

Photographic print, 11 x 14 in.

Kean Wilcox

Barbie Ready for Anything, 1994
Silver gelatin prints, 24 x 20 in.

Combat Barbie, 1994
Silver gelatin prints, 24 x 20 in.


Postcard: Arresting Images


Camper, Fred. “Taking Aim at Weapons.” Chicago Reader, Sept, 15, 1995, sec. 1, p. 34.

Stamets, Bill. “Art: A Warm Gun, A Wet Paintbrush.” Chicago Sun Times Weekend Plus, Sept. 29, 1995, p. NC3.


Arresting Images is supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design’s College of Architecture, Art, and Urban Planning.

Karen Indeck Head ShotKaren Indeck has been the curator and director of Gallery 400 and the Visiting Artists-in-Residence Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 1986. Her curated shows include NATURE/nature (1990), Laughing Matters (1993), and Influx (1993). Indeck received a BFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago.