Non-Violence, 1988

Carl Fredrik Reutersward

Grounds of the United Nations, just past the visitors entrance on the east side of First Ave., between 45th and 46th streets.

The grounds of the United Nations are decorated with numerous sculptures that have been given to the organization by the governments of member countries as well as by individuals and other organizations [1].

Immediately upon entering the grounds of the UN, visitors are confronted with two sculptures, Sphere within a Sphere, which is abstract, and Non-Violence, which is blatantly representational. Non-Violence is a giant revolver, solid and black, and on a pedestal placing it at eye level. The barrel of the gun is twisted into a knot, causing the tip to point straight up into the sky rather than in the direction in which it is aimed. The gun is cocked, but the knot makes it clear that it will not shoot. Perhaps violence has been narrowly averted.

Non-Violence is a gift to the UN from Luxembourg.

Possible discussion themes
Different methods for representing abstract concepts.
Works that are specific to a location for reasons of content.

Related art works
Many of the works in the United Nations plaza are also on the theme of peace or international relations. These works include:
      Good Defeats Evil.
      We Shall Beat Our Swords into Plowshares.
      Francisco de Vitoria.
      Roots and Ties for Peace.


  1. Gayle, M. & Cohen, M. (1988). The Art Commission and The Municipal Art Society guide to Manhattan's outdoor sculpture. New York: Prentice Hall Press. p. 119.

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