What is art? The Guggenheim Museum in New York City is under fire for an animal exhibit that's been criticized as cruelty.
According to the Washington Post, the famous museum pulled three pieces from the upcoming exhibit called “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,” which opens to the public next Friday. This move comes after thousands signed an online petition to put a stop to works in the exhibit.
The three works (there are nearly 150 total) include one video-based piece called “Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other,” in which artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu show pit bulls tethered to treadmills that face each other; “Theatre of the World,” in which a table features hundreds of insects and reptiles, including lizards, fighting for survival; and finally, “A Case Study of Transference,” in which a video showing a boar and a sow having sex. Both animals are stamped with symbols, a mix of Chinese and Roman characters.
Footage from "Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other" can be seen below. Warning: Footage may be uncomfortable for some viewers.
“During the three-month exhibition some creatures will be devoured; others may die of fatigue. The big ones will survive,” the New York Times reported on the exhibit.
In response to the controversial exhibit, Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said, “People who find entertainment in watching animals try to fight each other are sick individuals whose twisted whims the Guggenheim should refuse to cater to.”
In a statement, the Guggenheim said Monday that “explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary.” The decision was made “out of concern for the safety of its staff, visitors, and participating artists.”
Over 723,000 people signed a petition online against the works.