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Guggenheim Museum Pulls Controversial Animal-Related Art After Threats Of Violence

PRISCILLA FRANK: ‘New York City’s Guggenheim Museum announced that three controversial artworks would be removed from the institution’s upcoming exhibition “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,” including the title piece of the show. The works, all by conceptual Chinese artists, came under fire when activists characterized them as “instances of unmistakable cruelty against animals in the name of art.” The criticism erupted after a measured preview of the show ran in The New York Times, titled “Where the Wild Things Are: China’s Art Dreamers at the Guggenheim.” The comments on the article, however, reflected the distress many experienced even before the show’s opening… n the week since the article ran, a Change.org petition calling for the Guggenheim to remove the works on view attracted over 613,000 supporters, and protestors marched on museum grounds. Yet in a statement on Monday, the museum claimed that “explicit and repeated threats of violence” ultimately led to the works’ removal… PETA president Ingrid Newkirk spoke out against the work. “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,” she said.

… One piece no longer included in the show is “Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other,” originally staged in 2003 by married couple Peng Yu and Sun Yuan. In the performance, four pairs of pit bull-like dogs were strapped to non-motorized treadmills, facing each other. When the dogs attempted to run towards each other, they could not physically meet, mirroring a setup sometimes used to train dogs to fight. A seven-minute video of the 2003 performance was slated to be included in the Guggenheim’s exhibition’. SOURCE…

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