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Blowing Up

Deadly land mines inspire explosive new art show.

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When Sherry Bradshaw opened the Artseen gallery Memorial Day weekend, she prepared for a shit-storm regarding its first exhibit, Mined Games. To her relief, the Bush supporters never showed up to see the show -- an anti-war display that focuses on turmoil in the Middle East. “The community is thrilled to see cutting-edge art,” she says. “We need culture here. This is not about the lighthouses you see all the time.”

The exhibit features more than 15 mixed-media linocuts and statues by Bradshaw and Kathleen Van Meter. The pieces rest beneath a quote by social critic Howard Zinn: “Green parrots are land mines with tiny wings.” The line comes from a 2005 essay which describes the bird-shaped bombs planted on Afghanistan and Iraq’s roadsides. The explosives have killed more than 20,000 kids -- who mistake them for toys -- since the early 1990s. “It’s a different slant on history,” says Bradshaw. “He writes about things that were not the focus of the history books that I had in school.” With Zinn’s treatise as their chief inspiration, the abstract works spring from the gallery’s floor. A forest of red fiberglass trees memorializes the children. “If you see the pieces in the installation, they look like they’ve been dug up as consequences of war,” says Bradshaw. “When you see the quote on the wall, it brings you to a different level of consciousness about what’s going on around the world.” Still, Bradshaw waits for the critics. But she’s ready for them, she says. “Instead of just being a gallery where everybody stands around and looks at paintings on the wall, how about if we give them an experience?”
Sundays, 2-6 p.m.; Wednesdays-Saturdays, 2-9 p.m. Starts: July 1. Continues through Sept. 3

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