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What’s your sign?

“Carrying” in New Paltz, now through Nov. 14

by Megan Labrise
September 02, 2010 12:39 PM | 1 1 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nancy, a SUNY New Paltz graduate student, reads a sign on campus that is part of a collaborative art installation of 50 signs scattered throughout the New Paltz community (one for each state) that conveys the complex rules and regulations that pertain to concealed weapons across the nation.
Nancy, a SUNY New Paltz graduate student, reads a sign on campus that is part of a collaborative art installation of 50 signs scattered throughout the New Paltz community (one for each state) that conveys the complex rules and regulations that pertain to concealed weapons across the nation.
slideshow
Some American students pack textbooks in their backpacks; some may pack heat.

“Carrying,” an exhibition of signs exploring the diverse laws governing guns on public university campuses throughout the country, is now on display in New Paltz. The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz and the village and town of New Paltz are participating in the collaborative display of 50 signs -- each highlighting the gun laws of a different state -- dispersed throughout the community.

A complete set of the signs is on display at the Dorsky Museum as part of “Hudson Valley Artists 2010: Contemporary Art and Praxis,” curated by Thomas Collins, now through Nov. 14.

Artists Curt Belshe and Lise Prown, a husband-and-wife team from Peekskill, created “Carrying” to shed light on college campus gun policies through information graphics accessible to the general public.

“We both work for colleges so it touched a nerve, personally, and our own perceptions of what a college campus is or should be,” said Prown.

There are federal laws prohibiting carrying handguns on elementary and secondary school campuses. However, no federal law currently exists regarding carrying handguns on public university campuses.

The signs include state laws of purchase, transport and use of handguns. The abundance of text on each sign is evidence that the rules and regulations pertaining to concealed weapons are varied and complex.

“New York has very strict gun laws, which is good for people to know. Overall, colleges are extremely safe places. This is not meant to be alarmist; it’s just to notice that there are very big differences from state to state,” said Prown.

Signs can be found throughout the SUNY New Paltz campus, at Town Hall, Village Hall and the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce, and along the New Paltz Rail Trail -- and at a dozen additional locations. (A full map will be available at project website www.belsheprown.com.)

“We had a lot of cooperation from the village and the town, which was great,” said Dorsky Museum Curator Brian Wallace. “It also helped to make the project go on campus. With the cooperation of many different people, we approved 50 spots and with a little crew, all the signs were put up on the campus and out in the community.”

Each sign features a sticker on the back that refers the viewer to the project’s website and to the assembled installation at the Dorsky Museum. Back at the museum, the assembled signs -- in five rows, ten columns -- form a collage including images of a male and female student, backpacks and guns.

“The artists were very clever: when you see one sign out in the community, it arguably doesn’t really carry the image of a gun on it,” said Wallace. “It’s not meant to be a scare piece. Instead, you come across these and are provoked by the sot of strange specificity and almost blandness of the information about a really contentious topic A balance is struck -- is this art? is this a political statement? -- through visual, project execution and presentation skills. That balance among all those different elements made me think it would be a worthwhile, challenging and interesting project. It rewards sustained contemplation and it also invites discussion.”

A formal discussion of “Carrying” is being planned for October at Village Hall, date TBA.

For more information about Hudson Valley Artists 2010: Contemporary Art and Praxis, visit the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art website, http://www.newpaltz.edu/museum/.

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not afraid
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September 06, 2010
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This has been affirmed as an individual right.

Someone who has passed the very tough requirements of NY State to get a carry permit is a responsible person, has been background checked and should be trusted as a law abiding citizen.

Some even argue that properly trained, law-abiding people with valid permits can make a campus safer. Others just are 2nd amendment-phobes.

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