Peter Gronquist. McDonald’s. Mixed media.
“I’m a whore,” he admits. “I’m a victim of the rampant consumerism that I parody. It’s all very confusing.”
In his signature taxidermy sculptures, Gronquist pairs animals with assault weapons, creating a juxtaposition of the innocent and the aggressor. The works offer a smart and timely critique of gun culture, even as they seem to present a dual message that’s part empowering and part destructive. Gronquist also takes great pains with the crafting of the sculptures, devoting countless hours to sanding and employing master gold platers in order to create a Neo-Baroque, high-gloss, and gold-gilded finish for the animals’ antlers. The result is a series of artworks that parody the role of luxury goods in our consumer-driven society. Designer labels, outrageous bling, and rampant conspicuous consumption point to the consumerism that dominated pre-recession American culture; they now represent the transgression for which we are now atoning amid the global economic collapse.
Gronquist’s art practice is multifaceted, and it eschews a simple interpretation. But one of his most consistent achievements is the exposure of these ubiquitous characteristics of American culture — the simultaneous rejection and embodiment of the consumerism and apathy we’ve all inherited as part of the American dream.