In the Texas State Capitol, an Exhibition Questions the Lack of Gun Control


As the 86th Texas Legislature gathers at the State Capitol this week, senators and representative will be greeted by “Assemble to Disassemble” an installation of artwork that questions current gun laws.

The exhibit is organized by Texas artist Lalena Fisher and also features work by Naomi Spinak from Washington state, and Mison Kim from New York. It will be on view Jan. 7-12 in the Capitol’s ground floor rotunda.

State Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin) is the legislative sponsor of the exhibit.

Mock-up of Lalena Fisher’s “Assemble to Disassemble” installation.

Fisher’s installation involves Mary Jane shoes made of black paper which will be arranged  in formation, and all pointing toward a disassembled AR-15 surrounded by white paper flowers.

Fisher said she was moved to create “Assemble to Disassemble” by the students terrorized by mass shootings at their schools who nevertheless have organized to demand stricter gun control. Fisher invited her pwn friends and their children to help craft the paper shoes.

“A community of hands helped create this work,” Fisher said. “It’s really special. And it reinforces the unity out here on the ground: We want better gun legislation.”

Detail of Spinack’s “Sweet Land of Liberty,” a quilt stitched with names of those who killed in mass shootings.

Spinak’s quilt, “Sweet Land of Liberty,” resembles an American flag and is hand-embroidered with the names of those who killed in mass shootings, silhouettes of AR-15 rifles replacing the stars. “Listening to the news of yet another school shooting, I thought, ‘Our flag doesn’t stand for freedom right now, it stands for guns,’” Spinak said in a statement. “When the freedom to own a gun is more important than the freedom from fear of being gunned down, the signal has changed.”

Kim’s intricate drawings are from a series called “Guns, Games and Glory,” and feature the floor plans of official government and religious buildings in the United States, rendered in way that accentuates their formal similarities to the outlines of some weapons.

“Assemble to Disassemble” is on view from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Jan. 7; during the Capitol operating hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Jan. 12.

The artists will be present and available to with visitors 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 7 and 8.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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