Art becomes art

Here is an advert by ArmaLite Inc (a hand gun manufacturer from the USA) that has been doing the rounds, creating mostly fury as it does so.
It pictures a AR50A1 bolt action long range rifle on a museum wall, sandwiched between the American Gothic and the Mona Lisa.
The gun is advertised as

“..Designed to be an economical answer for the challenges of long range shooting..”

…so killing people from far away very cheaply – clearly what the world needs.

And yet there it sits, in the presence of arguably two of the greatest pieces of art.

The advert has sparked criticism, especially from Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini – whether rightly or wrongly (being opinionated on a public blog such as this is perhaps ill advised, so I shall refrain from commenting on the taste or otherwise of the advert)

What fascinates me though is the advert itself. Take away the text for the moment, and look just at the image and there are some very clever touches….which bring with them some intriguing questions…for example, why is the gun pointed at the Mona Lisa’s head? (why that way around and not the other way around?) why is the viewer studying the piece a businessman (and not a militia) – it reminds me of the “the stereotypical faceless businessman” (The Son of Man by Rene Magritte portrayed in The Thomas Crown Affair) what expression is the man wearing – a smile? are there tears? contemplation? relief?
Being hung next to such masterpieces, one would assume then that the gun is in fact not for sale?…which perhaps is the most intriguing of them all, as it then belies the need for the advert in first place.

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