The Art of Animal Cruelty


(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)

Someone forwarded this to me. It originates from the In Defence of Animals (IDA) folks.

Walk into the Walter and McBean Galleries in San Francisco’s posh Russian Hill neighborhood, and you may be shocked to see what passes for contemporary “art” these days. Six televisions display video images of six different animals — a doe, a goat, a horse, an ox, a pig, and a sheep — being bludgeoned to death with a large sledgehammer.

Entitled “Don’t Trust Me” by “artist” Adel Abdessemed of Paris, this sick exhibit is Abdessemed’s and the Institute’s self-serving attempt to pass off the brutal abuse and killing of animals as legitimate artistic creation.

Interestingly, the San Francisco Art Institute, which sponsored this exhibit, spouted what IDA calls ‘obscene rationalizations this venerable institution of learning and culture offers in defense of the sleazy snuff films. These include pedantic claims that such killings “regularly take place…in the real world, on a regular basis,” and that the installation “(makes) typical moral and cultural constraints seem beside the point.”

I agree with IDA. I have not thought that such easy justification of such needless cruelty can be so common.

If you have been following Dawn’s blog, you would have read in this post:

… here’s an exhibition you will WANT to miss. It seems that she does kill the animals for use in her photos. Her gallery’s website has a statement which when you click on it doesn’t work – but this is apparently the statement they issued earlier.

I have come across this “artist” quite a while back. Her “works” are nothing that a graphics artist with a decent grasp of graphics software can’t recreate on the computer… which would have, at most, caused realignment of a few electrons, and perhaps used up some electricity. Instead this “artist” takes lives under the guise of art. The preposterous thing about it is, people condone and encourage her. Unbelievably, there is a market for her “works” as prices for her artworks – which have a limited edition of six prints – range from $14,000 to $25,000!

An earlier exhibitor of her art, the Wetterling Gallery in Stockholm, explained their reasoning behind displaying the distasteful images:

Most people who see Nathalia’s pictures for the first time are impressed by how beautiful they are….Slowly you realise that the animal is dead, that the animal has died for the sake of the picture…Nathalia’s pictures…are so beautiful – and the insight into the reality behind them gives rise to thoughts of people’s shallowness and double standards. Many of us eat meat, wear leather or use make-up that has been tested on animals, without arousing especially strong reactions. But when a picture shows a dead rabbit, all hell breaks loose…There is nothing illegal in Nathalia’s art. She has killed the animals in as humane a way as possible. Has she been guilty of a moral crime? We do not think so.

Are these so-called Art purveyors out of their minds?

Another, even more poignantly horrifying, “Art” piece I came across was this crime which took place just last year:

An “artist” from Costa Rica, named Guillermo Habacuc Vargas, put a starved dog as a work of art, the poor dog died there, he did not want anyone give him food or water. This monster asked some children to chase the dog and he paid them for their dirty work to give him the dog.

In that event, (in which the dog died) he was chosen to represent his country in the “Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008”

In some ways, I can see the logic of the ones who defend such “Art”. After all, humanity’s cruelty upon the world takes place daily. Every moment some animal is suffering because of us, whether for food, fashion, image, apathy, expired love, greed, tradition, pleasure or psychosis, even entrenched bureaucracy. Our apathy knows no bound. Why should anyone care more for these “Art” victims than the animals suffering in places we don’t see?

But then I wonder about 2 things.

One: If such cruelty, and each example of “Art” cited here is cruelty contravening any animal abuse law you care to hold it up against, can be excused in the name of “Art”, then the likes of the New Jersey cat adopter who tortures and kills the cats he adopts are artists too. Why, right here in Singapore, we have top-notch “Artists” in our midst.

Two: would an artist working on themes like Boxer Day 2004, the 2003 Bam quake, Treblinka, the Spanish Inquisition, that old European decimator: the Black Death, China’s Great Leap Forward, the Aztecs’ human sacrificial fixes, Papua New Guinea’s menu choices, be allowed to re-enact these tragedies with real humans? What would be the reason for not supporting that? That it is only Art and people need not die for it? If killing humans in the name of Art is not acceptable, why is any sort of killing rationalizable at all?

What price Art?

(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)

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5 responses to “The Art of Animal Cruelty

  1. I’m sure that Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer considered themselves artists too.

  2. We do live among the artistic.

  3. Artists who act like police (with vognitive dissonance) to the fact that some artists, just like some police officers and some soldiers and some politicians, do sometimes commit cruelty and crimes.

    1. Creating art through cruelty is like creating profits through cruelty.

    2. Creating art through torture is like solving crime through torture.

    3. Creating art through imprisonment is like deciding political issues through imprisonment.

  4. Hi Keith,
    Interesting. Thanks for sharing the concept of vognitive dissonance.

  5. If you have a heart then you have to feel something for these animals wether its sadness or disgust if you human you feel something. BUT if this is “art” (if you want to call it that or not i don’t care ) you have to look at it differently and dont see how brutal these acts are but rather why are they going on. Turn off your human feelings and look at what they are saying. Many of us eat meat, wear leather or use make-up that has been tested on animals, without arousing especially strong reactions. Nothing has ever been accomplished by sitting there and waiting for something to change! Evolution, Independence, equal rights, they all had there defining moments, why not animal cruelty? YES i think what these people have done is both gross and inhumane, but hasn’t it done its job by arousing the unawakened? all they did is bring what is usually done behind close doors and brought it into the view of our happy little society. And that upsets us, and it should Because thats what they are trying to do. So you can say “it’s fucked up how can they do this i am upset how can the show us this? How is this art”. but it happens every day its nature! Like taking a picture of a sunset of a growing tree.Is that art If so Why? its there its always been there but put it in a photo it’s art ?…. To sum this up because i have already written a fuckin paper hear… Art is called art for a reason because it has no limits no box to be in. i love art because i am free to do what “I” want and a soon as some one tells me what art is and what it should be then it’s no longer art. If you don’t like what i said its okay because i never told you to listen to me i just wanted to SHOW you what i thought.