Provocative punk rock art gallery causes controversy

Anti-war exhibition draws criticism

The Bogus Boutique transformed the Rebecca Randall Art Gallery into a pop art department store for the duration of March. The Boutique located in the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts featured ceramic purses, high heeled shoes, telephones, suitcases, lighters, belts, guitars, locks, and punk rock lock necklaces.

Installation artist David Bogus spent over a decade creating brightly colored ceramic sculptures as a representation of his satirical political commentary. Bogus said his journey with art began as a medium to express his identity and lately his art has become more focused on representing his opinion visually

Alongside the ceramic sculptures are non-traditional works of art students usually don’t see in the gallery.

“For instance, I have a dildo belt,” Bogus said.

This piece titled Campus Carry was worn by sorority members from University of Texas at Austin in 2016 who protested a Texas state law that allowed people over 21 with their concealed carry permits to bring weapons to campus. Bogus said the sorority used the phallic symbol because it is against Texas state law to own more than five sex toys.

Photo by: Sazie Eagan

Campus Carry drew attention to the imbalance of Texas laws restricting what hangs from a belt. Bogus said expressing his opinion in a funny and sarcastic manner is reflective of his identity.

Bogus said the punk rock genre influences his art and the lock necklaces were inspired by musician Sid Vicious.

“Punk rock has a very specific set of ideals and what it stands for, being strongly independent, not worrying about outside criticism and not worrying about turning people off,” Bogus said. “A lot of those ideals I take to my work as a whole.”

Bogus selected specific punk rock lyrics for the lock necklaces to create a “political stance against war and American imperialism.” He said the topics his art addresses, such as gun control, are controversial and he wants to create complexity for viewers to interpret themselves.

Coastal Carolina University student Ben Harrian attended the artist reception on March 2 as an assignment for a class. Harrian served as a marine and said the anti-war commentary bothered him because people do not realize the freedoms we enjoy as U.S. citizens were fought for in a war.

“His art is all very political and very anti-war,” Harrian said. “The only reason that you can attach dildos to a belt is because other people were halfway across the world fighting war.”

However, Harrian said the pieces that commented on mental health and material goods resonated with him. The suitcases acted as a metaphor for personal baggage and the purses represented overconsumption.

The Bogus Boutique is free and open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through March 31 in the Edwards Building.