Gail Rothschild

Plowshares Into Swords

1991


Wood, steel, shovels, and paint in 28 pieces. 1 x 20 x 40 feet.
Commissioned by the Socrates Sculpture Park. Queens, NY

The Bible says: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares…” Historically, we have accepted that as an act of improvement. However, environmental degradation caused by current agricultural practice should make us rethink this. Plowshares, carelessly used, have now become swords against the earth.

The installation consists of fourteen “foot soldiers” carved out of re-purposed wood from local buildings. The heads are warrior masks welded and burnt from ordinary garden shovels and wielded defiantly by the foot soldiers. Into the spine of each figure I routed out a word that describes an act of environmental violence such as:
PESTICIDE, HERBICIDE, CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS, BURNING THE RAINFOREST, DUSTBOWL, MONOCULTIVATION, DESERTIFICATION, SOIL EROSION, and AQUIFER CONTAMINATION.

Plowshares Into Swords, 1991
Wood, steel, shovels, and paint in 28 pieces
1 x 20 x 40 feet

Plowshares Into Swords, 1991
Wood, steel, shovels, and paint in 28 pieces
1 x 20 x 40 feet

Plowshares Into Swords, 1991
Wood, steel, shovels, and paint in 28 pieces
1 x 20 x 40 feet

Plowshares Into Swords, 1991
Wood, steel, shovels, and paint in 28 pieces
1 x 20 x 40 feet

Plowshares Into Swords, 1991
Wood, steel, shovels, and paint in 28 pieces
1 x 20 x 40 feet

Plowshares Into Swords, 1991
Wood, steel, shovels, and paint in 28 pieces
1 x 20 x 40 feet