“Conservative pundits are quick to cite what I think of as a straw man—that there’s some kind of leftist boogeyman coming to take away the Second Amendment, and to my knowledge, there never has actually been one.” Clearly, Brooklyn artist Joshua Smith [via artnews.com] doesn’t get out much. Or use Google. Anyway, Mr. Smith “likes the idea of inhabiting that space.” Edgy! And so . . .
Smith is proposing what he’s termed a Gun Violence Amendment to the United States Constitution that would repeal the Second Amendment—the foundation for firearm-ownership rights in the U.S.—and prohibit the “manufacturing, transportation or importation . . . of pump-action, semi-automatic or automatic firearms.”
The unending back and forth on the topic of gun violence coupled with the lack of substantive action to address it is part of what drew him to the issue. “It’s infuriating, so that’s inspiring as an artist,” he said. Given the laws and jurisprudence that support gun ownership, Smith feels that an amendment is the only way of adequately proceeding.
Just for S&G’s, here’s the text of Mr. Smith’s Gun Violence Amendment:
Section 1. The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
Section 2. The manufacturing, transportation or importation in or into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of pump-action, semi-automatic or automatic firearms is hereby prohibited.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within ten years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
It would be awesome if The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Americans for
Final Responsible Solutions, Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America et al. would get behind this Amendment, too. Talk about outing the opposition . . .
While these groups no doubt support Mr. Smith’s end game, there’s no chance they’d declare their true intentions. Instead, they hide behind weasel words. “We support the Second Amendment, but… INSERT IMPRACTICAL CIVILIAN DISARMAMENT TROPE HERE.”
As for Mr. Smith’s “art” . . .
On Thursday night, Smith will present a lecture on his proposed amendment at Artists Space in Downtown Manhattan and display 28 photographs of flowers that he recently photographed in Central Park, one for each person who died in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. “It is a visual representation of gun violence, or just what you can do with an automatic weapon,” Smith said.
For the past two years, whenever he has heard about a mass shooting in the U.S., Smith has posted a brief animation on Instagram that shows black scribbles consuming—blacking out—the logo of the National Rifle Association.
“I thought that defacing their logo was a really interesting gesture—so simple and such a craving, you know?” Smith said. “Just deleting them from the face of the earth, because they’re villain number one for America, because they are responsible for so much harm and so much pain for so many people.”
Mr. Smith’s website doesn’t include any photos for this exhibit. But it does offer a selection of his black and white photographic series Vacancies. A more sarcastic writer might suggest that his latest project indicates a vacancy between Mr. Smith’s ears, but I couldn’t possibly comment.