Guns in the American culture are a very hot topic. For, or against, there is no middle ground here, no grey area.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) certainly isn't taking sides, but the want the conversation to continue. To encourage that, UNLOADED, an exhibition of works by more than 20 artists exploring the historical and social issues surrounding guns on culture, will open March 31st and run through May 15th, then, return for July, 5 - 31. 

Along with the exhibit, the UICA will offer complementary events and programming open to the public including educational opportunities for school groups.

UNLOADED was organized by Susanne Slavick, the Andrew W. Mellon, Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, and originated at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's SPACE gallery. It is a traveling exhibition and features a variety of work by over 20 nationally and internationally recognized artists that includes Lauren F Adams, Nina Berman, Joshua Bienko, Mel Chin, Dadpranks, Jinshan, and Adrian Piper. You'll find photography, digital media, sculpture, and paint on canvas on both the UICA's 4th and 5th floor galleries.

Mel Chin

One of the highlights of the exhibit will be Mel Chin’s Cross for the Unforgiven, a Maltese cross made out of eight AK-47s. Chin shaped the gun barrel tips, formerly deadly implements, into a bent and sealed likeness of the international symbol of resistance whose points represent the eight Beatitudes prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount. If that doesn't start a conversation, nothing will.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), is at 2 Fulton W, Grand Rapids, MI, 49508. There will be an Member Preview reception on March 31st at 6 p.m., and the exhibition officially opens to the public at 7 p.m. Admission is free for all UICA Members, and $5 for the general public.