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Bang-le Bracelet

1997 Mickey Johnston Born: Neptune, New Jersey 1949 hand-forged steel, gold, diamonds, and pearl 3 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 5/8 in. (9.6 x 12.1 x 1.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the artist in honor of Professor Robert Ebendorf 1999.35 Not currently on view


Luce Center Label

This bracelet was created for an exhibition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, called Artists of a Different Caliber. Twenty artists were each given a gun by the Pittsburgh Police Department and asked to create a piece that spoke against random gun violence. Many of the artists chose to create small sculptures with disturbing messages, but Mickey Johnston was determined to make a piece that he thought beautiful. He says, “I concentrated on turning a sword into a plowshare.” From the barrel of a .22 caliber pistol, a so-called Saturday night special, he forged a bracelet with five dangling charms. The gold, diamonds, and pearls applied to the revolver bridge the distance between the beauty of “art” and the realities of “life.”

Keywords

decorative arts - jewelry

Crafts - Metal

metal - gold

metal - steel

stone - diamond

stone - pearl

About Mickey Johnston

Born: Neptune, New Jersey 1949