Carlow University Art Gallery opens “Up in Arms” exhibition

By Bri Griffith / @brigriffith / bmgriffith@live.carlow.edu

“Imagine what it was like to be me.”

Those words can be found on the bottom right corner of Adrian Piper’s work entitled “Imagine (Trayvon Martin).” Piper is one of the nine artists whose work is featured in the “Up in Arms” exhibition, courtesy of the Carlow University Art Gallery and Social Justice Institute.

“Up in Arms” opened on Tuesday, January 17. The exhibition explores the historical and social issues surrounding the availability, use, and impact of guns in our lives, according to Susanne Slavick, Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University.

While “Up in Arms” presents images of guns and their impact from a number of perspectives, according to Slavick, “none endorse them as a means to an end.”


Photo courtesy of Erika Kellerman

“Gun violence is a reflection of a lot of social ills—gender, race relations, domestic violence, and suicide,” said Slavick, “and it’s a public health crisis.” Slavick organized and found works by artists that explore all the different facets of gun violence.

The work of Adrian Piper “forces audiences to face their own prejudices and preconceptions,” according to the “Up in Arms” program. “Imagine (Trayvon Martin)” focuses on 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012. The piece features a fading portrait of Martin behind red crosshairs.

Other artists who have work in the gallery include Susanne Slavick herself, Vanessa German, Stephanie Syjuco, and Jennifer Meridian.

Vanessa German’s work was featured in the Art Gallery’s last “Illuminations” exhibition, which closed on December 6, 2016. One of German’s pieces in “Up in Arms” entitled “Safety” is a collage—a one year’s collection of gun-violence related Facebook posts.

German currently lives in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood. While German is familiar with gun-related death and despair, she still describes Homewood as “one of the most inspiring places in the world,” according to the “Up in Arms” program.


Photo courtesy of Erika Kellerman

The Carlow University Art Gallery is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., and Fridays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The Art Gallery is located on the 2nd floor of the Carlow University Commons, open to the public as well as the Carlow community, and the “Up in Arms” exhibition will be open until April 28, 2017.

For more information, contact the director of the Carlow University Art Gallery, Sylvia Rhor, Associate Professor of Art History, at scrhor@carlow.edu; to schedule a private visit or tour, please email gallery@carlow.edu.

Feature Image is Adrian Piper’s “Imagine (Trayvon Martin)” – photo courtesy of Bri Griffith

Correction: we printed an artist’s name as Stephen Syjuco; her name is Stephanie* Syjuco.

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