Watch William S. Burroughs Make “Shotgun Art”


As an unbelievably ignorant propaganda video from an anti-gun control group recently reminded us, William S. Burroughs loved guns. He loved them so much that he used one to accidentally kill his wife, Joan Vollmer, in a drunken attempt to mimic William Tell back in 1951 that renders any romanticizing of his gun-toting persona foolish at best. Thankfully, later in life, Burroughs’ romance with firearms manifested in less harmful stunts. Open Culture has tracked down a fantastically lo-fi video of the author making “shotgun art” — setting up cans of spray paint in front of plywood planks and then shooting them to create a random explosions of color. Does this game really qualify as art? We’ll leave that up to you. Watch Burroughs in the act below, and see some of the finished works here.