The devil’s in the details

Crystal "horns" on brass knuckles

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

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.

Check out more Smithsonian rock ’n’ roll objects at https://www.si.edu/spotlight/rock-and-roll.

Posted: 2 June 2017
About the Author:

Marilyn is an editor in the Smithsonian’s central Office of Public Affairs; she has been at the Smithsonian since 2008. When not editing, she aspires to be Vianne Rocher in "Chocolat" and embraces all things "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."