Peter Gronquist: Deers, Skeletons and Machine Guns


This morning, I logged onto Facebook and I found a very unusual photograph that features a deer’s head with two gold skeletons holding machine guns. The skeletons have replaced the antlers; the juxtaposition is very humorous and satirical.

I was so fascinated with the photograph, I decided to undertake further research on the Internet, I soon realised that this three-dimensional sculpture was produced by Peter Gronquist, a contemporary artist located in Portland, Oregon.

Gronquist has sculpted golden machine guns as well as international icons that are used as antlers on top of the dear’s head. When I viewed Gronquist’s work for the first time, I couldn’t help but laugh, I do find the juxtaposition very random and spontaneous; I found Gronquist’s work so amusing I decided to write about it!

Of course the first thing most of us would think about is the unusual composition between the deer and the machine gun; the very first thing that comes to mind is corporate greed and the way consumerism can potentially destroy or even kill the natural habitat or the environment.


According to the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, Gronquist’s work depicts “humour and irony” through these large three-dimensional installations of “taxidermied animals” and gold-plated weapons. What interests me the most is the composition between the skull and the deer, in a way Gronquit’s installation becomes a reminder of death and mortality.

At the same time, the installation invites me to consider the dear’s previous life or existence, I begin to wonder how the poor deer had died in the first place. Now its head is used as part of an installation along with gold-plated skeletons and machine guns; the remains from the deer have been transformed into a piece of art, it’s incredibly random but it’s very interesting!


When I viewed the photograph, I couldn’t believe the deer and the machine guns were an actual artwork, for one second I thought….is this a photo montage? I discovered that the installation was 100% real, there was no montage, this was a real artwork that has been displayed in an art gallery.

Ok so I do sound surprised, don’t get me wrong I do find Gronquist’s installation completely fascinating, I just couldn’t quite understand the concept to begin with. Once I viewed the image closely, I began to think about the negative aspects of consumerism and mass production.

The humour and the spontaneity is what makes Gonquist’s work engaging, I can’t help but laugh or chuckle to myself, the subject matter and the aesthetic are visually entertaining!

2 responses to “Peter Gronquist: Deers, Skeletons and Machine Guns

  • Parlor of Horror

    I think this is also a commentary on the Gun Laws debate raging in the US currently. Since machine guns were used in several mass killing sprees in the past few years, the US govt. wants to put laws into effect that would limit the purshase of these weapons. Gun enthusiasts are crying foul, they have the right to by guns, for hunting and protection. Gronquist is basically showing the irony – do we really need machine guns to hunt and kill deer?

    • Black Calavera

      Yeah I totally agree with you, I don’t know why I didn’t include this part because I was thinking of the same thing, but thank for sharing you have made some very interesting points, I’ll properly write another post about this 🙂

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