Artistic expressions about gun culture and violence at Core Contemporary until Jan. 8
By Debbie Hall
Lead photo by Aaron Cowan
“Seven Tragic Mountains”
Printed Digital Photograph
The gun target is:
Sean Russell “Hands”
32.5 inches x 24.5 inches x 2 inches Photographic Toner, Acrylic, Resin on Panel
Abstract image is:
Bindia Hallauer “Riot”
20 inches x 16 inches
Acrylic on Canvas
Directly confronting gun culture and violence, the traveling exhibition American Roulette presents its provocative artwork in Las Vegas at Core Contemporary. The American Roulette is on exhibit until Saturday, Jan. 8, with the closing reception planned later that evening.
Whether local or national, news alerts report the dramatic rise in violent crime, especially gun violence. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 14,516 people died from gun violence in the US from Jan. 1 to Sept. 15. That is a 9 percent increase from the same period in 2020. Mass shootings are also on the rise, 15 percent higher than in 2020.
American Roulette began as a solo traveling exhibition of Dominic Sansone’s sculpture The Gun Show in 2015. CJ Hungerman joined the exhibition for a two-person show in January 2017, and it was renamed Bang! Gotcha Joe! after Dominic’s boyhood friend. Once Cesar Conde joined the collective, the traveling exhibition was renamed American Roulette for its presentation at The Clemente Center on the lower east side of Manhattan in 2019.
Michelle Graves was asked to join in 2019, and Folleh Tamba was added in 2020 before the exhibition at The Epiphany Center for the Arts in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.
Yousif Del Valle and Anthony Guntren were working on a similar idea west, and when everyone discovered their mutual goals, the group came together to create American Roulette.
Core Contemporary curates art experiences based around challenging topics to evoke thoughtful contemplation and responses. A much-needed platform is offered for productive dialog across cultural and societal divides. The opportunity for an actual conversation about gun culture and violence is the chance for people to listen and learn from each other.
“It has been an honor to tour my artwork with the American Roulette exhibit. All of the work on display is intense but of an important topic, and I am glad that it has continued to be seen and discussed. The concept of utilizing art as a conversation starter and platform for deeper discussions on societal and existential topics is a personal mission of mine and pairs well with what American Roulette is doing as a traveling exhibit,” says Michelle. “Also, I am proud to help provide opportunities and encourage artists to exhibit their work in a prestigious manner.”
Local Southern Nevada artists who were accepted to the call for art for the Las Vegas exhibit includes:
Linda Shaffer instagram.com/redpearlart
Dan Brady instagram.com/void._.space
Aaron Cowan instagram.com/aaaartist
Adriane Serrano Bojorquez instagram.com/xxaryalaxx91
Tom Umholtz instagram.com/tomumholtz
Carla Furey instagram.com/whiteshadowart
Michelle Costigan www.instagram.com/hikingmich
Sean Russell www.instagram.com/chili_river
Bindia Hallauer instagram.com/artbybindia
Nancy Good instagram.com/nancygood_art
Kelly Ludden Facebook.com/kelly.ludden
Jen Spencer Facebook.com/kitschyjen
This is a very personal project for Serrano Bojorquez who has experienced gun violence. As she stated in her bio on the Core Contemporary website, "I was held hostage at gunpoint in 2018, during a robbery, at one point he lifted the visor of his helmet and I saw his eyes, that image is burned into my mind. I was able to disarm him where law enforcement was able to subdue him due to my knowledge of guns."
Artists part of the traveling American Roulette exhibit:
Dominic Sansone sans1studios.com
CJ Hungerman cj-hungerman.squarespace.com
Cesar Conde cesarcondeart.com
Michelle Graves gravesmichelle.com
Folleh Tamba americanrouletteart.com/Folleh-Tamba
Anthony Guntren instagram.com/anthonyguntrenart
Yousif Del Valle yousifdelvalle.com
Core Contemporary showcases artists who are strong in genres such as abstraction, surrealism, street, and minimalism, working in mediums as diverse as painting, collage, assemblage, photography, digital design, sculpture, and performance art.
Fear and paranoia have become a very integral part of many lives, not only from the pandemic and its economic and societal consequences, but the significant uptick in crime, especially gun violence. Another aspect showcasing the gun culture are the devotees of the true crime genre with networks, movies, television shows, podcasts, YouTube, and Patreon channels regurgitating the most heinous crimes. American Roulette showcases very personal emotions about the fascination with crime and its consequences.
American Roulette will be exhibited at Core Contemporary located at 900 E. Karen, Suite D222. The exhibit will continue through Jan. 8, 2022, with a closing reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8. The exhibition is accessible from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. No appointments are necessary. For more information, visit corecontemporary.com or americanrouletteart.com.