2MF with Joshua Smith // Cry for Help: A Rally to Pass a Gun Violence Amendment

We are pleased to announce 2MF’s July 2017 meeting:
Thursday July 13, 7–9 PM
Artists Space
55 Walker St.
New York, NY 10013

“I mean basically the only way to guarantee that we will dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society, and until somebody gets enough ‘oomph’ to repeal the Second Amendment, that’s not going to happen.”- Karl Rove, 2015

Gun violence is one of the leading causes of death for children ages 1 - 17 in the United States. Such violence has been legally shown to be unpreventable unless a Constitutional Amendment were passed, which at least in part included repealing the 2nd Amendment. The amendment process requires support from either two thirds of the United States Congress or two thirds of States Legislatures. It would seem like a long shot given the current, frenzied state of US politics, but of course Donald Trump is also President now and nothing is impossible.

Artist Joshua Smith recently published The Gun Violence Amendment, 2017 as a postcard with New York publisher Primary Information. In it his text would first repeal the second amendment, and then go on to say that, “The manufacturing, transportation or importation in or into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of pump-action, semi-automatic or automatic firearms is hereby prohibited.” which would suggest the radical policy shift of forbidding all but fully manual firearms for US gun owners, including local and state police forces, and thus vastly disarming and limiting the country’s easy access to weapons designed to murder vast amounts of people. Smith will present his Amendment in public for the first time in a conversational in person talk, and attempt to rally some concrete support for it in the process. 100 stamped Gun Violence Amendment postcards will also be available on site for easy mailing to representatives, friends, and family.

All of these efforts, housed as they are here in a fine art context raise questions like who represents “the people”, and what is represented by that expression, how can activists and artists produce or affect societal and cultural shifts benefiting “the people?" Throughout our meeting we will work to address how Judith Butler’s consideration of public assembly relates to Smith's and perhaps our own interests in affecting change through the simple “performance” of our gathering together to discuss issues like gun violence, and public policy campaigns. We will also consider the Library of Congress’ United States: Gun Ownership and the Supreme Court at as well as an overview of the constitutional amendment process at the National Archive.

We will close by taking stack from attendees for an open mic conversation with topics related to gun violence, violence in general, the constitutional amendment process, art and art’s ability to affect public policy and / or the conversations about it.

We’ll encourage a comfortable, conversational environment throughout the evening, with refreshments and some snacks. Mingling and milling about are also encouraged.

Primary Information will be on site throughout the event, with additional postcards created by artists including Lutz Bacher, Kevin Beasley, and many others on sale for $1 ea.

Pre-Meeting Reading:
Judith Butler, Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, 2015
Library of Congress’ United States: Gun Ownership and the Supreme Court
Overview of the constitutional amendment process at the National Archive

About the Artist
Joshua Smith has exhibited work at Albert Baronian (Brussels), White Flag Projects (St. Louis), Shanaynay (Paris), and in New York at Shoot The Lobster, SOUTHFIRST, Art Production Fund, Essex Flowers, West Street Gallery, Nicole Klagsbrun, and John Connelly Presents. He cofounded the exhibition projects Essex Flowers, Apartment Show, and Commonwealth Contemporary. He is the founder of The Gun Violence Amendment. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, New York Magazine, The Art Newspaper, Interview, and Hyperallergic, among other publications.

About Primary Information:
Primary Information is a non-profit organization devoted to publishing artists’ books and artists’ writings. Primary Information was formed in 2006 to foster intergenerational dialogue through the publication of artists’ books and writings by artists—emerging, mid-career, and established. The organization’s period of focus is from the early sixties to the present, with an emphasis on the conceptual practice of using publications as an exhibition space.

Artists Space is accessible via elevator from street level, welcomes assistance dogs, and has wheelchair accessible non-gender-segregated toilet facilities.