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“Uli” (2014-2020) was made from Sean Penn’s gun collection, consisting of 62 guns and accessory parts. Sean informed me that he wanted to decommission his gun collection, and asked if I would have any interest in creating an artwork out of his guns. I told him, “Absolutely,” and the Uli sculpture was created out of gunmetal. Uli figures are normally made out of wood, and they represent the maternal and paternal spirit of tribal leaders. #jeffkoons #uli #sculpture #art #seanpenn #gunmetal #artist #haiti #newireland #louvre #contemporaryart @coreresponse
Members of the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex were all atwitter back in 2015 when news broke that Charlize Theron had persuaded Sean Penn to dump all of his guns. And why not? Celebrities are never targets of criminals.
As artnet.com reports . . .
Penn, now 59, made the decision to give up his guns at the behest of fellow Oscar-winning actor Charlize Theron, whom he dated from 2013 to 2015. (The 44-year-old South African actress’s anti-gun beliefs were formed as a teenager, when her abusive father drunkenly shot at her and her mother. Theron’s mother fired back in self-defense and killed him.)
“I’m a self-proclaimed alpha male who owns 67 firearms,” Penn told a star-studded crowd at his 2014 “Help Haiti Home Gala” in Beverly Hills, as reported by the Daily Mail. “But I’ve had my mind changed about guns by a strong woman, a beautiful South African woman.”
What’s a once-popular Hollywood star to do with all of his gats when his then-significant other decides she can’t live with them in the house? Simple. Commission a sculpture.
Penn auctioned off the guns for charity (Anderson Cooper was the high bidder) and then hired sculptor Jeff Koons to create, well, a thing made of all of the unwanted firearms welded together into one tall hunk of metal. And it’s named Uli.
Or as artnet.com calls it, a dark totem-like statue.
Koons says he was inspired by the Uli fertility statues traditionally made by the natives of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea.
“Uli figures are normally made out of wood,” he explained. “They represent the maternal and paternal spirit of tribal leaders.”