Museum pulls controversial animal art

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The Guggenheim Museum in New York drew three exhibitions featuring animals after having received explicit and repeated threats of violence”.

The activists had complained that the work showed “the cruelty against animals in the name of art”.

A petition to take the exhibition had received more than 500,000 signatures.

The museum has said that they will not now be shown “out of concern for the safety of staff, visitors and participating artists”.”Cruel manipulation of animals”

The works were due to be in an exhibition entitled ” Art and China, after 1989: Theater of the World, which opens on 6 October.

One of the works, entitled Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), shows a film of pitbull dogs on treadmills that are not able to reach each other.

The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals has issued a statement denouncing the “cruel manipulation of the animals”.

He said: “These treadmills are typical of violent dog fighting training regimens, and the simple positioning of the animals to face each other, and to encourage the aggression often meets the definition of illegal dog fighting in most of the states.”The freedom of expression ‘paramount’

Last week, the museum had defended the exhibit as an “intentionally challenging, and provocative work of art.”

“We recognise that the work can be upsetting”, according to a press release. “The curators hope that viewers will wonder why the artists have created, and what they can tell about the social conditions of globalization and the complex nature of the world we share.”

Other exhibitions are the Theatre of the World (1993), in which insects, and reptiles living in a see-through dome and eat each other; and A Case Study of Transference (1994), a video of a previous live performance of the mating of two pigs stamped with Roman and Greek letters.

The museum said it was “appalled that we have to retain works of art”, adding: “Freedom of expression has always been, and will remain, a critical value of the Guggenheim.”

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