Guggeheim Museum removes ‘cruel’ art displays after animal rights protests

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A video expected to be aired on October 6 in New York City’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in the planned exhibition “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World” has been removed along with two other works out of concerns about safety.

The museum came under severe criticism from the public last week  over a controversial exhibition, “Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other,” which features  a seven-minute video with eight American pit bulls trying to attack each other on a wooden, non-motorized treadmill; the dogs never made contact. According to the New York Times, protesters marched outside of the museum over the weekend and circulated an online petition demanding “cruelty free exhibits at the Guggenheim. As of Tuesday morning, more than 616,000 people had signed.

The other two works include A Case Study of Transference, 1994, a video of two pigs with several markings of Chinese characters stamped on their bodies having sex while on exhibit, and Theater of the World, 1993, which was intended to be the show’s signature piece. The work featured hundreds of insects and reptiles in an enclosed octagonal space. During the exhibition, the creatures would eat each other. Animal groups asked that the scorpions and tarantulas be removed.

“Although these works have been exhibited in museums in Asia, Europe, and the United States, the Guggenheim regrets that explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary,” the museum said in a statement. “As an arts institution committed to presenting a multiplicity of voices, we are dismayed that we must withhold works of art. Freedom of expression has always been and will remain a paramount value of the Guggenheim.”

With the initial focus on dogs fighting, animal rescue groups, as well as the public heavily weighed into the disturbing idea of dogs fighting.  The ire grew stronger after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the American Kennel Club stated dog fighting should never be displayed in any way.

As for the artists, Peny Yu and her husband Sun Yuan, they denied their art depicts animal cruelty and insisted the dogs were examined by veterinarians both before and after they had been used in the performance while taping.

Read the original article here.

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13 replies
  1. ellen cottone says:

    We brought down the Guggenheim and kicked its ass to the curb.
    moral out rage pointed in the right direction can be a powerful force to be recon with.

    Now, There is one last thing before we forget about the Guggenheim and its trash.
    We must rescue the 8 dogs.

    The Gugg tried “pushing the limit ‘in the name of name of high art
    but it was really “Thinly vailed” animal abuse, in the form of aggressive conditioning.

    Hell No , You Will Not.
    Not in our neighbor hood, not on our watch.

    we must seize the dogs. they are not going to be pitching this punishment animal zoo any place else.
    they think they are going to get their blood and moneys worth from these dogs.
    get them out.

    Lets make sure they are not going to pitch a tent in any neighborhood. these dogs are not to leave the country with these pukes.
    these dogs are american citizens and should not be in the hands of cold hearted Chinese artists.

    I want these dogs removed now. before the couple disposes of them. as they always intended to do .
    when they finished offending us and passing off there cruel experiment on the fools who would think its a good idea in NYC or any other place.

    Now ,
    lets get Mike Vick Fired

  2. ellen cottone says:

    china tries to bring its animal perversion to an area of sensitive out spoken people.
    these 2 are freak show perverts. they think its funny also.

    get out and dont ever darken our door way again.
    with your cold hearted abuse of animals.
    dont tell me this is nature . your profit makes it a different game. you are exploiting and creating suffering

    Your sins will follow you in this life and the next.
    When you die your terrible death.
    someone will explain it to you. Then see what happens next. to you both.

  3. Nancy Raymond says:

    Whoever decided that displaying animal cruelty as ‘art’ should be fired – this is NOT art – those two so called ‘artists’ need to be sent back to their vile country – what was the Guggenheim thinking? Not much apparently. Worried about their ‘safety’? What about the animal’s safety – obviously no concern there. These dogs need to be seized ASAP. Vile, disgusting and deplorable.

  4. Linda Szymoniak says:

    Animal abuse is NOT freedom of expression. And, it is NOT art. While I don’t condone any threats of violence, if that is what it took to get this institution to withdraw this display, then so be it. While the photo shown is of two dogs who were not able to actually reach each other in the video, you can see the scars and injuries on them. They have been fought. They are being taught to fight – to attack each other and fight to the death. Anyone supporting this should be found guilty of animal abuse and cruelty.

  5. pamela bolton says:

    Yeah, I can see by the scars on the one dog that neither had been harmed. BS BS, BS This is disgusting in every way you look at it. The ARTISTS (ha ha) if you can call them that, should be run out of town. Descent people don’t need to abuse animals and call it art. Really sick people. Glad they took it down. Now take out all the dog fighters and save these dogs.

  6. Mary Ann Clark says:

    The animals all need to be saved and taken to no kill sanctuaries! I have to wonder how any museum could possibly agreed to these exhibits in the first place! These artists and the museum staff should be arrested for felony animal cruelty and they should all be fired!

  7. susispot says:

    I’m glad this display was removed. No one needs an “How to” of dog fighting. It is in no way, shape or form ART! It is abuse.


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