Friday, April 25, 2008

Petition to Prevent Death Spectacle





Some of you may have received some devastating photos and a link to sign a petition to save another dog's life from the art world which seems to be racing thru the internet like wildfire, thankfully.

But if you haven't, you might want to read the contents this petition and consider adding your name to the list:

http://www.petitiononline.com/ea6gk/petition.html

From the limited information one can gather from this link, an artist named Guilliermo Vargas hired five children to capture a stray dog in Managua and then tied him to a rope in an art gallery. The artist and visitors of the exhibition watched while the dog starved to death in the gallery almost as though it were a performance piece. And the Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American has invited Vargas to recreate this "installation" in the biennial of 2008.

Does this sound like some totally bizarre parody of what the art world has come to? Am I missing something that would help to make this make more sense?

My friend speculated that this piece was intended to call attention to how we see animals starving on the streets all the time in real life and turn our backs to it, and by tying the animals to a rope in the gallery, the artist is calling attention to this kind of suffering. Except that if we tied a helpless person to a rope in gallery and watched the person starve to death, it doesn't quite add up to meaningful art that most of us could stomach.

I'm perplexed and disturbed, so if anyone has more insight on this story, please let me know. I first saw the photos of this dog and read the petition shortly after returning from my trip out west, where seeing stray dogs roaming in parking lots and streets in Arizona was already heartbreaking enough. And having photographed some dead animals and a dog who was taking it's last breathes on a street in Ship Rock, NM, I hope there is a significant moral distinction between between the act of capturing suffering, violence and death and the act of causing suffering, violence and death in the process of making art.

7 comments:

JanelleGrace said...

Why didn't anyone at the exhibition try to save the dog?

Tema said...

Janelle,

That is, of course, the most obvious and natural question. And the absence of an answer is part of what makes this so unsettling.

Thanks for taking the time to look.

Tema

jonfeinstein@gmail.com said...

I had the exact same reaction until I saw this: http://thepetextraordinarium.blogspot.com/2008/03/starving-dog-exhibit-reported-as-hoax.html

nina said...

Hi Tema-- thanks for posting this! I believe Joerg Colberg also blogged about this and shed a little light onto what led to this.
My stance is clear on this, this should not ever happen. Even if this is happening to millions of other animals. I think there are other ways to bring attention to the topic.

jonfeinstein@gmail.com said...

Nina et al: This was a giant hoax: please check out this link:
http://thepetextraordinarium.blogspot.com/2008/03/starving-dog-exhibit-reported-as-hoax.html

Tema said...

Wow. Thanks for the link, Jon. I guess that is good news in a sense but what a weird world we live in.

nina said...

just like the Yale student then...