Contemporary artworks made using decommissioned AK-47 assault rifles were confiscated by customs officials in Houston, according to the London gallery that sought to exhibit the pieces.
Made by British artist and Army veteran Bran Symondson, the works were intended for a Houston exhibition, the Maddox Gallery said in a statement
Created for a show called "AKA Peace" in 2011, Symondson, who is also a photographer, asked artists including Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk and Sarah Lucas to decorate AK-47s from war-torn countries. "Spoils of War," a gun covered in U.S. dollar bills; "Beat of a Wing" and "Virtue of the Vicious" are rifles covered by butterflies, were set to be shown, but were seized by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and won't be allowed into the U.S., the gallery said.
"Having experienced action whilst serving in Afghanistan, and seeing how Afghan police adorned their AK47's with roses and stickers, I wanted to turn the most iconic weapon in the world from one of fear and unrest to one of beauty and intrigue," Symondson told The Guardian in September 2012
Although the guns were obtained while en route to Syria from Afghanistan, they are no longer functional weapons.
"It is ironic that the law permits U.S. citizens to go and buy a new, live weapon which I could, in theory, use to create one of my artworks from, which then could technically be used in its intended form but will not allow my pieces of harmless art into the country," the artist told The Independent
Texas law permits gun owners to carry rifles and shotguns in public places.
Maddox Gallery made headlines last April by exhibiting a painting depicting a nude figure representing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. That work was also banned from the U.S., according to the Independent
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