John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
Jon Burgerman's gruesome takes on New York subway ads.
Ever get the feeling walking through the subway at night that malicious eyes are glued to your back? If so, it could be because a ton of actors on movie posters are pointing guns in your direction, a cultural cliche that's seemingly invaded every single damn action-film promo.
Sensing an opportunity, 34-year-old Brooklyn artist Jon Burgerman has launched a gruesome photo project showing himself being executed by these bullet-spitting posters. "Head Shots," as he calls the series, began last summer and has since snowballed into a decent accumulation of blood-spattered shock pics. Don't worry, the fountains of corpuscles aren't real – after obtaining the original image, Burgerman adds copious gore with his special "bad Photoshop skills."
The artist recently took the time to answer a couple questions about the ultra-violent art, as well as provide a few obligatory head shots:
What inspired you to create this series?
I've been interested for a while in making what I term 'quiet interventions,' where our surrounding spaces are tweaked and played with in a fun, easy, cheap, non-permanent way. This can be as simple as taking a photograph that plays with perspective to distort the relationship of scale between two forms.
When I saw a giant poster of Bruce Willis firing a gun in Seoul last summer [ed: see above], I thought I should complete the composition and lie down on the ground beside it as if I'd been shot.
Is it meant as a comment on Hollywood's persistent violence or something else, or is just more of a funny experiment?
It's a funny experiment that will hopefully get people to look again at how our public spaces are being used and what the marketing images around us really say. It's not a comment on the content of movies.
Images used with permission of Jon Burgerman