Killing Animals = Art ???????


In Defense of Animals Applauds Cancellation of Animal Snuff Film Exhibit
But Animal Protection Group Denounces Cancellation of Today’s Public Forum

San Francisco, Calif.—In Defense of Animals (IDA), the international animal protection organization based in San Rafael, California, today applauded the cancellation by the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) of a video exhibit of animals being killed by a sledge hammer. IDA also denounced the cancellation of today’s public forum at SFAI to discuss the creation of animal suffering for “art.”

IDA President Elliot M. Katz, DVM stated: “Members of the humane and artistic community were looking forward to the public hearing to express our condemnation of the Art Institute’s giving credibility and acceptability to the work titled, “Don’t Trust Me.” They should never have approved this exhibit in the first place.” Dr. Katz characterized the exhibit, depicting the bludgeoning deaths of tethered animals, as a snuff video.

Dr. Katz also stated that “We will not give up until the Art Institute either condemns the exhibit in question, or creates a policy that condemns the creation of animal suffering for videos and/or photographs that pose as works of art.”

IDA rejects the notion that the “artist’s” right to free expression includes the commission or requisition of cruelty to animals. “There is undercover video footage that shows animals being slaughtered in abattoirs, the Outdoor Channel shows animals being shot; there is no lack of existing video footage that might have been used to make whatever point it was that this ‘artist’ wanted to make,” argues Katz, adding that musings on the nature of art and the place of animals in society could have been provoked in ways other than a series of sensational, violent stunts.

IDA hopes that SFIA will adopt a formal policy against killing of animals specifically for a piece of art. IDA is calling for SFIA to follow the lead of the Chrysler Museum of Art, which will not exhibit or promote the exhibition of art where animals are killed or abused specifically for that piece of art.*

The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) has agreed to temporarily suspend a controversial exhibit consisting of video images of six animals being bludgeoned to death with a large sledgehammer. The Institute will hold a public forum on Monday, March 31st at SFAI’s campus to hear criticism of the work. Controversial “artist” Adel Abdessemed will not be present, but the school’s Dean of Academic Affairs, two art professors, and the exhibit’s curator will be.

IDA founder and president Dr. Elliot Katz commended SFAI for discontinuing the exhibit, and for holding the public forum. “The Institute’s initial defense that the animals were going to be killed anyway sends a terrible message, not only to the public, but to the next generation of artists,” he noted. “Their official response was at first rather inflexible and defensive. I am pleased that now they are at least willing to hear the public’s concerns relating to the ethical and moral ramifications of this exploitive and cruel exhibit.”

What: Public forum to discuss art and ethics, and whether killing animals can ever be considered “art.”
When: Monday, March 31st at noon
Where: San Francisco Art Institute Main Campus (in the lecture hall), 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco

Urge San Francisco Art Institute to permanently shut down animal snuff exhibit

What do YOU think?

“Don’t Trust Me” Showcased at the San Francisco Art Institute

SFAI – Looped cuts of only a few seconds, the videos offer up gestures and facts, but resist the imposition of narrative constructions or automatic interpretations (whether of the empirically unambiguous or the theoretically savvy kind). The tacit claims for “autonomy” made by such visual language—staccato forms, lights, movements, and immediate experiences—imbue the work with an instantaneous efficiency that circumvents categorization, making typical moral and cultural constraints seem beside the point. Don’t Trust Me portrays six animals—a sheep, a horse, an ox, a pig, a goat, and a doe—being struck and killed by a hammer. Each killing occurs so quickly that it’s difficult to determine definitively what has happened. Do these incidents represent slaughter or sacrifice? What are their social, cultural, moral, and political implications? Or are such questions now verging on irrelevance, as if something else altogether were taking place (or about to), something wholly other, unforeseen, unexpected?

To read the full description, go here_

*If you’re interested in seeing stills from the videos, you can view them at Walter and McBean Galleries.

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