Sarah Frost: Arsenal

Jepson Center April 26-September 22, 2013

Telfair Museums will present a solo installation by Sarah Frost, entitled Arsenal. Originally created for the Great Rivers Biennial 2010 exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Arsenal is an installation comprised of hundreds of hand-made paper “guns” suspended from the ceiling that envelop the visitor and create an environment  that is both beautiful and haunting.

The project was inspired by Frost’s discovery of a community of boys who self-publish instructional YouTube videos for making elaborate and highly realistic paper guns, replicas of assault rifles, bazooka shells, pistols, and guns, out of copy paper and Scotch tape. Learning this craft from the videos, Frost methodically created hundreds of these paper gun forms to create a massive arsenal.

Initially, Frost was attracted to the ingenuity of the homemade videos and guns but simultaneously stunned by the knowledge the boys had about the workings of the guns. She responded to the idiosyncrasy of the videos, such as an account of shooting Grandpa’s snub-nosed revolver or using 1,400 sheets of paper to make a M134 Vulcan with tripod, and to the inventiveness of the gun forms. Their simple materials, paper and tape, belied their sophistication, as most shot paper darts through blow tubes, and many had moving parts: spinning chambers, folding or extendable stocks, and pump-action barrels. For Frost, this simultaneous attraction to the workmanship and discomfort with the subject matter was fascinating. Like an anthropologist, in Arsenal she re-presents found forms; because they are found, they are inherently reflective of their context and society. The installation evokes question-of meaning, politics, fragility, the need to communicate and so forth-above all it is a distillation of form, construction and the placement of objects within a space.

Sarah Frost was born in Detroit and grew up in Rochester, NY. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Frost’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, including exhibitions at Laumeier Sculpture Park and Museum in St. Louis, PPOW Gallery in New York, Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Pearl Fincher Museum in Spring, Texas and Balzar Art Projects in Basel, Switzerland. She has also received numerous awards and grants, including the Great Rivers Biennial 2010, a grant funded by the Gateway Foundation and exhibition at Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis. She has also received grants from the Missouri Arts Council and Arts in Transit in St. Louis. She currently lives and works in St. Louis.

We sat down with Frost prior to install of her exhibition, read what she had to say here »

Sarah Frost speaks about her interest in object history and the reflection of culture in found materials. Frost discusses the inspiration for her large scale installation.


Related Program

A Conversation with Contemporary Artist Sarah Frost

April 25 | 6pm  | JC

Join Telfair Director/CEO Lisa Grove for a conversation with artist Sarah Frost, who uses found objects and forms in surprising ways. Frost’s installation Arsenal will open for viewing this evening.

Free to members or with museums admission


As our Members’ Magazine was going to print, the country was shocked by the terribly violent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Given the subject matter of this exhibition, we considered whether we should cancel or postpone it. However, upon reflection, we decided that the installation is particularly resonant in light of the recent tragedies in Connecticut, Oregon, Colorado–as well as the ongoing gun violence here in Savannah–and decided that this is exactly the right time to present it. The installation is not intended to posit any particular political point of view. We simply hope it will, in some small way, help the community deal with recent events through conversation and reflection.

We are working to create an appropriate and sensitive series of programs to accompany this exhibition, including a panel discussion on the pervasive presence of guns in our culture, the impact of gun violence on our community and strategies for healing and prevention. Please check our website for program updates. Please contact our Senior Curator of Education, Harry DeLorme at for more information.