A peek into our collections, one object at a time

Devil Horns

June 1, 2017

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Brass knuckles with crystal "horns"
Debra Baxter, “Devil Horns Crystal Brass Knuckles (Lefty),” 2015, quartz crystal and sterling silver. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of the artist in honor of Joanna and David Baxter © 2015, Debra Baxter

I Wanna Rock!

Inspired by a rock concert, artist Debra Baxter created her “Devil Horns Crystal Brass Knuckles” series. The hand gesture known as devil horns, or rock horns, gained popularity at 1970s heavy-metal concerts as a staple of audience appreciation.

Today, their use has surpassed the confines of arenas and clubs to become a ubiquitous symbol of cool.

This artwork is on view in the “Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery.” The Renwick Gallery is the home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s craft and decorative arts program.

To see more Smithsonian rock ’n’ roll objects, go to https://www.si.edu/spotlight/rock-and-roll.