Doers: Artist Jane Goren Featured in “Guns,” Group Show in L.A.

Doers: Artist Jane Goren Featured in “Guns,” Group Show in L.A.

The focus of Jane Goren’s newest work is guns. It will be on display in a group show appropriately entitled “GUNS,” which takes place at the The Loft at Liz’s in L.A., 453 S. La Brea Avenue, from Saturday, September 24 – Tuesday, November 1. That is just two short months before an election that holds the possibility of upsetting the political order and balance in America and around the world. Jess sayin…


Remember a group game involving fortune cookies? People around a table in a Chinese restaurant would read the words on the little piece of paper inside the treat and add “in bed” to the message. Made the drivel a whole lot funnier.

Now try the same game with fairy tales. Only this time add “with guns.”

Picture it: the three little piggies packing heat.

Accordingly to a New York Times article last March, that is exactly how the N.R.A. is rewriting the classics.

The world of make-believe can be a scary place, but never fear: Thanks to a series of reimagined fairy tales published online by the National Rifle Association, classic characters like Hansel and Gretel are now packing heat.

The group has published two of the updated tales on its N.R.A. Family website in recent months, entitled “Little Red Riding Hood (Has a Gun)” and “Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns).” The stories have outraged advocates of gun control, but their author, Amelia Hamilton, a conservative blogger, has called them lessons in gun safety.

“The stories are really also for adults, and it’s all about safety,” Ms. Hamilton said in an interview on “CBS This Morning” on Friday. “It’s for parents to start those conversations.”

N.R.A. Family asked its readers in an editor’s note if the dark overtones of the original fairy tales — an old woman eaten by a wolf and children cooked by a witch — ever made them “uneasy.” It said the new versions are meant to make the Grimm brothers’ tales less grim.

In Ms. Hamilton’s stories, each of the young protagonists (and one grandmother) is transformed from a victim into a hero with the help of a gun.

Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said that depiction was a source of concern….

Continue reading (and weep) here. 

Though it is anathema to the “art for art’s sake” Sixties, artistic expression has long played an undisputed and pivotal role in contemporary social activism –  though practicing artists often find it challenging to balance their commitment to art as a representation of their unique sensibilities with socio-political biases. By constantly reinventing the role of activist-artist, some at least aim – no pun intended – for the goal of creating political art that is not propaganda, but still evokes a critical response in a troubled world.

Fact is political art has been a fact of life in America since the 1930s, reaching a peak of outrage during and immediately after the Vietnam War. And extreme times call for extremely smart measures.

Pulse Orlando nightclub.

Virginia Tech.

Sandy Hook Elementary.

Luby’s Cafeteria.

McDonald’s in San Ysidro.

University of Texas Tower,

The bloodied list goes on and on….

According to the Gun Violence Archive, in 2016 alone, an election year and annus horribilus, there were about 36,000 incidents involving guns; over 9000 people died and just under 20,000 were injured. The number of children killed or injured was 427 – kids who love “The Three Little Piggies” and “Hansel and Gretel.”

An appropriate response to the N.R.A. arming Little Red Riding Hood? How about once again fighting fire with fiery art? – such as the work of long-time, (part-time) Telluride local Jane Goren.

The hope is that maybe this time the locomotive of art will help pull black carriages in the right direction.

Preaching to the choir?

Very likely.

Worth trying?

No question.

Jane’s “NRA Daycare” is literally and figuratively a “sign” of the times.

“The NRA has corrupted the meaning of the Second Amendment. In addition, they focus on recruiting children. The America we live in is a reflection of what and how we teach our children,” says the artist.

Jane Goren, "NRA Daycare"

Jane Goren, “NRA Daycare”

“Cold Dead Hands” are images of guns that represent those seized from families by law enforcement following their owners’ funerals.

Jane Goren, “Cold Dead Hands"

Jane Goren, “Cold Dead Hands”

“Behind Enemy Lines” represents the extreme religious sexual repression from which gun violence is primed to explode.

“Young boys seeking virgins in the afterlife and young women are sent on suicide missions, while the old ‘sages’ who send them continue to enjoy life on earth,” adds Jane.

Jane Goren, "Behind Enemy Lines"

Jane Goren, “Behind Enemy Lines”

Jane Goren’s smart, outrageous, ironic, righteously indignant, ultimately compelling work is scheduled to be part of group show appropriately entitled “GUNS.” Once again, the exhibition takes place at the The Loft at Liz’s in L.A., 453 S. La Brea Avenue, Saturday, September 24 – Tuesday, November 1.

And Jane’s work is in good company: Featured artists include John Baldessari, Jodi Bonassi, David Buckingham, Clayton Campbell, Helen Chung, Joyce Dallal, Cheryl Dullabaun,Shepard Fairey, Michael Flechtner, Mark Steven Greenfield, Alex Kritselis, Meg Madison, Ted Meyer, Sabine Pearlman, Osceola Refetoff, Miles Regis, Milo Reice, Ed Ruscha, Kathy Shorr, Anna Stump, Senon Williams (musician, Dengue Fever) and Kerri Sabine-Wolf.

“The topic of gun control has sparked the formation of organizations: Gays Against Guns, Women Against Gun Violence, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Brady Campaign. The list goes on. In a day and age when such organizational names are commonplace in the average American’s vocabulary, the debate over gun violence has reached its peak in both popular culture and politics. It has become a topic that many contemporary artists and political commentators alike have to and have based their work on. This show belies the simplicity of the gun control question; it is only natural this team of 23 renowned visual artists are featured to address the underlying complexities of this hotly debated topic,” explains the gallery.

The diverse group of artists reflect the desire of the show’s curators to recognize all sides of the gun control debate, making the collective body of work well-rounded and eye-opening.

Jane Goren, Artist’s Statement:


“I work in two- and three-dimensional forms, and in a variety of materials. My work examines themes of disorientation, voyeurism, and eroticism. Because I often include discarded materials, the work raises issues of materialism and relative value. The seriousness of my work is frequently punctuated with a visual pun. I am greatly influenced by cultural diversity, which I seek out in my travels. Many of my images are metaphors for transition, the duality of life and death, and our survival instincts in an edgy world. 

“It was shortly after the tragedy in Sandy Hook when I was asked if I would be interested in contributing to a show about gun violence. Now, years later, the subject matter seems even more relevant as we watch guns in the hands of criminals, terrorists, and on the other side, law-abiding citizens and law enforcement, all creating the same kind of chaotic devastation in communities all over America. I feel that at this time that it is important for me, as an artist, to draw attention not only to guns, but also to those who pull the trigger.   

“Some artists, through their work, try to find the meaning of life. As for me, I general don’t care what it means….I just want to keep it going!

But I am interested in gun violence and would like to see it stopped.”

More about the artist:

Jane Goren was born and educated in New York City and was part of the art and theatre scene there until she moved to Los Angeles in 1974.

After LA’s last earthquake, she began collecting discarded windows, which she painted on the reverse side of the glass, in an attempt to heal and restore order to the disoriented city. The technique of reverse glass painting challenged her technical skills and allowed her to examine issues of voyeurism, surveillance and the deceitful nature of appearances.

Travel has always played an important part in Goren’s life and work, and has been essential to her artistic development, informing her work with a multicultural dynamic charged with personal meaning. She lived and worked in Berlin, Germany in 199,  and in Hangzhou, China in 2000. She has also spent time painting in India, Brazil, Italy, and Jamaica.

Jane’s work has exhibited extensively in the United States, as well as internationally. Her images have been included in such public collections as Mercedes-Benz, the National Public Library, the LAUSD Child Abuse Prevention office, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, as well as the private collection of President Fidel Castro.

Jane lives and works in LA. but spends as much time as possible in her studio in Telluride, Colorado.

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