The Guggenheim museum has pulled three works from view, including the signature piece from a Chinese exhibit, because critics said the artworks demonstrated animal cruelty, including dog fighting.
The exhibit "Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World," featured conceptual artworks and is highly anticipated ahead of its opening next month, according to the New York Times. Protesters spent the weekend marching outside the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City and an online petition gathered more than half a million signatures demanding “cruelty-free exhibits.”
At issue were three out of the 150 art pieces included in the show. “Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other” is a video piece showing four pairs of dogs trying to fight each other but not being able to reach each other because they are on motorized treadmills, the Times reported. “A Case Study of Transference” showed pigs mating in front of an audience, and the signature work of the show “Theater of the World” involved hundreds of live insects and reptiles moving around and preying on each other under a lamp.
The animals from “Theater of the World” had previously been removed from a display after the Vancouver Art Gallery encountered similar opposition from activists in 2007, Art News reported.
The Guggenheim said it had received death threats unless it pulled the pieces.
“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,” a statement on the museum’s website read. “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.”
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