back to article Put down the (cod)piece and step away: Artist cuffed after sculpture cockup

A Swedish artist was involved in a dust-up with the local fuzz, who mistook his sculpture of a pistol loaded with steel penises for a real gun. Bengt Andersson planned to exhibit his work at the Ronnquist gallery last week but when he opened his case to show staff the offending article, he was seized by bodyguards. "I just …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Altogether now: It was a right old cock-up!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only because the police went off half-cocked

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The revolver shot its load.......

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Great sculpture but as a weapon seriously lacking.

      1. andreas koch

        I would ask the security agency for better trained guards


        If you bother to take a look at the actual piece, then you'll find that it looks as much like a working revolver as Bob Hoskins' cartoon shooter does in "Who framed Roger Rabbit". Even at a glance.

        Which isn't the bad thing; they are just a bit overprotective like this and produce false positives.

        But what happens if someone walks in with an FN P90? Looks nothing like an everyday rifle and would probably, by these guys, be recognised as a battery operated precision vacuum cleaner. Or this, which could just as well be made of Semtex, C4 or the like. Would the guards be suspicious? Most likely not.

        The real danger is that security guards don't get trained enough and are, more often than not, recruited from a, let's say it nicely, rather plain but overenthusiastic group of people.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I would ask the security agency for better trained guards

          If someone has their hands on something that looks like a gun in an area where their is a known target, I doubt any security guard would want the gun secured before anything else happens. After all, they may take down security to get to their target.

          I'd rather they made mistakes on the over cautious side than the blood bath side.

        2. Maharg

          Re: I would ask the security agency for better trained guards


          Because I wouldn’t I would say (from the information presented to me at this time) they didn’t do their job, unless the artist told them beforehand

          “ I have a bit of art that looks like a weapon, I will be bringing in this case, I will give you the case and you can open it and inspect it to ensure it is safe”.

          Security Guards are taught and trained to respond quickly, this looks like a gun, that’s the point, you cannot tell me that if you saw this at a glance you would not think it’s a weapon, if it didn’t look like a gun it wouldn’t work as the art it’s supposed to be, there is a difference between looking at a close up image of something in an article telling you how the item below was mistaken for a gun, and seeing the same thing being pulled out of a case at a Security check.

          There is a reason toy guns are either bright colours or have brightly coloured tips on the end, it’s so they don’t look real. If the Police and Armed forces can make these mistakes then I don’t think you can expect anyone else to somehow be better.

          As for a FN90 that looks like a gun, not only does is it the same size as a gun, but it has a barrel, trigger and is the same colour as a gun, anyone who has played something like Call of Duty or seen Die Hard will even know what sound it makes, (the big blond bad guy has one if I remember right) possibly if it was disassembled, painted red and stored in a box with other metal objects that said vacuum cleaner parts on it you could get it past security, but if you pulled it out of a case at a Security check then I think you would be jumped on as equally quickly.

          Anyone one of these might be mistook for not being a gun (and it could be said they are Art) but as soon as you point it at someone you will hopefully get jumped as well.

          All I can say he is lucky he didn’t end up with a gunshot wound rather than a few bruises.

          1. andreas koch

            Re: I would ask the security agency for better trained guards

            > . . .

            seen Die Hard will even know what sound it makes, (the big blond bad guy has one if I remember right)

            . . . <

            Unlikely. "Die Hard" went into the cinemas in 1988, 2 years before FN's "Project '90(< - -hint)" was released. You most likely confuse that with a Steyr AUG, which doesn't even remotely look similar. This could explain your opinion.


            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I would ask the security agency for better trained guards

              Re P90...

              How about Stargate SG1? The Tau'ri weapon of choice.

        3. beep54

          Re: I would ask the security agency for better trained guards

          Actually, let's just say it: we are already seriously fucked when this is now normal reaction.

  2. proto-robbie

    I really must get my eyes tested

    It looked like a souffle broke out there for a moment. Isn't old age wonderful?

  3. Khaptain Silver badge


    I suppose that it gives another context to a gun being ""Fully loaded and cocked".

  4. Paul J Turner

    Not too lethal

    It just inflicts glans-ing blows.

    1. LarsG

      Re: Not too lethal

      Unless you go for a head shot?

  5. Cliff

    In fairness...

    It is styled somewhat like a gun, no? And the guy 'planned to exhibit'the following week but perhaps hadn't thought it through, like by telling people for instance. "I'm going to open this box now, it contains a piece of at which looks like a gun so don't panic". What gallery takes submissions the week before, and would consider exhibiting a pseudo-firearm without protective measures?

    To me, between the lines, modern artist thinks it'd be a wheeze to shake people up and get reaction to his teenage angst art by shocking people into taking about him. Any kicking he got was probably well deserved.

    1. I Am Spartacus
      Thumb Down

      Re: In fairness...Got what he wanted

      Which was a load of publicity for his opening with the new art work. by crashing another artists gallery.

      My bullshit meter just hit the stops - sounds like the artistic equivalent of an internet troll.

    2. Def Silver badge

      Re: In fairness...

      It looks like a gun, yes. When you see it on its own.

      However, when you see someone holding it, you realise how huge it really is. I mean it looks ridiculous it's so large. You could almost load it with wooden stakes and go vampire hunting with it.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: In fairness...

        "However, when you see someone holding it, you realise how huge it really is. I mean it looks ridiculous it's so large."

        That's what the artist said about its size anyway - his wife says it's nowhere near as big as that!

      2. Maharg

        Re: In fairness...

        Now I have seen a picture of it in his hand I would say it looks a lot like either a Grenade pistol or a dodgy M32 Grenade launcher without the chamber cover, or the trigger and housing part of a weapon without the barrel attached, either way it still looks like a big gun, it’s even in a gun case

        1. andreas koch

          @ Maharg - Re: In fairness...


          I don't think you have ever come closer than 50 metres to a real firearm, let alone touched one. And I don't think that you have much of an idea of how one works other than that you press the "A" button and "Z" simultaneously to reload (or whatever combination it is on your favourite console).

          This might be due to being British or being 15 years old.

          Don't get me wrong; I'm not berating the Brits for having no firearms. I live here myself and cope nicely now without a revolver, an automatic pistol and a pump-gun.

          But a professional security guard should be able to see at a glance whether it's a weapon or not. And he should have more training than having seen "Die Hard" or played "Call of Duty" or even heard the sound that a weapon makes, no matter what colour the weapon is (as a reference to your earlier post).

          These guys were supposed to be professionals, and while they were beating up an old man holding a comically oversized, skimpy-framed model penisvolver without a cylinder(!), their client was unguarded.

          No. they didn't do their job right.

          1. Maharg

            Re: @ andreas koch - In fairness...

            @andreas koch

            Ok, nice assumptions, lets go over them shall we?

            You got one thing right, I am British, but I come from Northern Ireland where they have different gun laws, in fact I legally owned a number of firearms and was a member of a gun club, lets also not forget just going outside in Belfast in the 80s meant you were “closer than 50 metres to a real firearm” sometimes a large number of them, and having to make a judgment call around how jumpy the soldiers or men in the balaclavas looked before approaching a randomly set up check point, but you know, you have to go to school/work/shop And that’s even if I had never worked in a “Security” profession.

            I would be quite interested to find out how many 15 year olds are actually on this site, I can’t imagine it’s that many, but add another 20 years on that and you would be a bit closer.

            The point I was trying to make about playing Call of Duty or watching Die Hard is that it’s pretty common knowledge what that gun looks like, although you are right it was the Steyr, I must have got confused with that and another film with a big blonde with a dodgy accent holding an FN90, out of interest I looked it up and its been in everything from James Bond to Doctor Who, so you would think its pretty recognisable as a firearm. It’s not my fault ones you think are not that well-known have been in movies, on TV and in video games for 20 years, I bet you think people would never have heard of a MP5, or FAMAS either? Just because you know something, doesn't mean nobody else does

            If you have ever seen the film Inside Man there is a quote where the cops question a witness when he tells them what type of guns they had “Of course I know what they look like, everyone who's seen a decent action movie knows what an AK-47 looks like”.

            The point is, this looks like a weapon, an odd one but still a weapon, as it was pointed out, weapons come in all shapes and sizes. They would not be doing their job if they said “well it looked a bit different so I ignored it”.

            Also who says they left their client unguarded? Any close protection team will have at least one person in charge of making sure the client is moved away from the threat quickly and safely, they don’t all pile on the first threat they see and leave the subject just standing there watching.

            If you watch it you can see on the video they tackled him, the injuries were probably caused by his face hitting the ground, which happens when someone forces your arms to your side or behind you when they grab you, one person stays on the target while another checks the surroundings and moves a bystander away from the area, another runs from around the side of the car and gets in, replacing the position the second guy was who was shielding the person inside the car, persons one and two then drag the suspect out of the path of the car to allow the car to speed off past them, it looks like they handled that pretty well, disabled the target, insured the public didn’t get in the way or get hurt and got the client out if the area.

            That looks like they did their job, if they were heavy handed then that’s not good, if they broke the law or used unwarranted force then they should be punished, but maybe next time it won’t be a bit of art and if they don’t react in the same way without hesitation people could die.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Maharg - In fairness...

             As said above, the P90 was in Dr Who, so my 10 year old daughter would know it’s a gun (from Wiki)

            “The P90 is currently in service with military and police forces in over 40 nations, such as Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Malaysia, Poland, and the United States.[13] In the United States, the P90 is in use with over 200 law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service”

    3. NightFox

      Re: In fairness...

      Do 73 year-olds have teenage angst?

      1. Cliff

        >>Do 73 year-olds have teenage angst?

        Yes. If they never resolved it as a teenager, or in-between. 'Look, willies! Look at my willie!' - pretty playground stuff.

  6. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I'd be careful with that

    it might go off in your hand!

    And it adds a new meaning to 'shake down'.

  7. Arachnoid

    A total over reaction

    Come on guys to rough someone up like this is pure knee jerking overkill its not like he took it out and threatened anyone.

    1. JimC Silver badge

      Re: A total over reaction

      Well it could be an over-reaction - or or it could be that he's not telling us the whole story as we only have his side of it. I'm not saying that the photos are, shall we say, also an artistic work, but it occurs to me the possibility exists.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: A total over reaction

        Swedish art moves in mysterious ways.

        There was another case in Sweden recently, where a black artist made a cake in the shape of a naked black woman, invited the minister of culture to his exhibition, asked the minister to cut the cake - and when she did, freaked out about how screamingly unforgivably sexist and racist the minister was for cutting a cake shaped like a naked black woman.

        Plot twist: the "freaking out" was the art.

  8. Arachnoid

    View the video

    And see the state of his face after the altercation

    1. a well wisher

      Re: View the video

      On the face of it thats excessive force to take down a 73 year old - surely

      Odd that -

      " but when he opened his case to show staff the offending article, he was seized by bodyguards."

      But vid shows him being taken down in the street

      1. Vociferous

        Re: View the video

        Perhaps it was re-done several times to get better footage. Art being what it is, the takedown/beating could well be part of the installation.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it

    shoot blanks?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost as funny as

    Andrew being asked to confirm his identity...

    How funny would the headline "Prince Andrew lookalike walks past palace guards unchallenged" have been to us all?

    Pull out even a fake gun nowadays and you risk being taken down like the idiot you are

  11. Don Jefe


    I doubt I'll read anything all week stranger than that first paragraph.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yay the Police, it's takes FIVE hours to realise he's not a threat!

  13. YeahRight

    Well it's not the first time the police have over reacted to a Sex Pistol

    I'll get me coat

  14. Johan Bastiaansen

    When will we finally

    stop accepting "but I'm stupid" as an excuse???

    Or at least tattoo "STUPID" on their forehead if the morons insist on using it?

    1. hj

      Re: When will we finally

      Stupid as in: I am not really bothered by the facts, just like to call people stupid? Once again, did you check how the "gun" looks?

  15. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    The perfect gift for those who see a gun as a penile enhancement!

    should sell millions of them!

    1. Vociferous

      Re: The perfect gift for those who see a gun as a penile enhancement!

      The "gun = penis enlargement" is probably the idea behind the whole concept, yes. And yeah, I could well see that piece sell well if converted to, say, jewellery.

  16. Vociferous

    Vilks has received a bit more than "threats"

    There's been at least two attempts on his life by islamists.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019