Robert Longo's new sculpture is a Death Star of 40,000 bullet casings

Artist Robert Longo has created Death Star II, a stunning sphere made with a bullet for each gun death in the US. It premiered at Art Basel this week (photos below).

Via Artnet:

It isn't until viewers draw much closer to the shimmering surface that they see its alluring, illuminated topography consists of polished copper shell casings. About 40,000 of them, to be more precise—roughly one bullet for each gun death in the US last year.

Co-presented by Metro Pictures and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Death Star 2018 is the result of Longo asking himself a very specific question about firearm-inflicted violence in America: "How do you give this insane statistical abstraction that is as brutal as it is a material form?"

At the same time, brutality is not Longo's endgame. "This piece is not so much about shock and awe," he says. "It's more about creating some kind of beauty out of something that's quite horrible, and at the same time hoping that it will make you personally [think], 'What am I going to do about this [the gun problem]?'"

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#RobertLongo's 'Death Star II' (2017/18) features at this year's #ArtUnlimited. The work is a sphere made of 40,000 cartridge cases, hanging from the ceiling. Twice the size of and including double the number of bullets in the 1993 'Death Star', it symbolises the increase in deaths from gun violence in the USA over the past 25 years. The bullet ball, as Longo calls it, is hung at eye level, from a chain secured to I-beams. 'Death Star II' sits in darkness under a high-intensity spotlight; as you walk towards it, the edges start to glow. 'It's very trippy because when you first see it you're not quite sure what it is. Once you get right up to it and you realize it's made of bullets, it becomes rather shocking. The amount of bullets is pretty insane.' . To compose the random sequencing of bullets, each attached by hand, the artist worked with a NASA engineer at Neoset Designs in Brooklyn, New York. The 2-ton result, which took over a year to complete, is presented by the gallery and Metro Pictures at Basel Unlimited. 20 % of the proceeds from its sale will be donated to 'Everytown for Gun Safety'. A selection of Longo works will also feature on the Ropac #ArtBasel booth. Photo: Metro pictures, swipe to see detail. @artbasel

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Motivated by 'Rage and Hopelessness,' Robert Longo Takes Aim at American Gun Violence in an Epic Work for Art Basel (Tim Schneider / Artnet)

Image: Brett Hondow