Cathedral Made of Guns

Field review by the editors.

San Francisco, California

The de Young is a large art museum in Golden Gate Park, with galleries of modern paintings, sculptures and thought-engaging art. While there are many notable pieces, we usually don't put them on roadside maps, but in this case we couldn't resist. "The Spine and Tooth of Santo Guerro" is a miniature rendition of a European Medieval-style cathedral, constructed of gun parts, bullets and shot (with a bit of glass and 15th-century fabric mixed in).

The cathedral is a 2007 sculpture by Al Farrow, owned by the museum, and we've convinced ourselves it must be on permanent display because it is just so good. Pistols are flying buttresses, patterns of bullets form sloping roofs, rifle barrels as spires point at the ceiling. Santo Guerro is Farrow's fictional saint of War, and the 5-ft.+ tall miniature acts as a religious reliquary. Farrow enshrined a human tooth over the transept door, and a piece of spine down the center of the nave, arranged on a red velvet cushion.

Cathedral of guns.

According to the accompanying plaque, "Farrow believes that all of the world's major religions have undermined their moral authority by claiming that 'God is on our side' when waging war."

Houses of worship made from weapons of violence are a recurring motif for the artist, deserving of their own little museum. He's made miniature structures featuring Santo Guerro's many trigger fingers (or fingernail of a trigger finger), a leg bone, and a jawbone. He's also erected tiny gun synagogues, a bomb mosque, and a bullet dreidel.

Also see: St. Francis of the Guns

Cathedral Made of Guns

de Young Fine Art Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr., San Francisco, CA
Tu-Su 9:30-5:51, F until 8:45, closed M (Call to verify)
Museum admission.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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November 20, 2018

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