The Guggenheim Museum Animal Rights Controversy

Bowing to public pressure, The Guggenheim Museum in New York recently chose to remove three artworks from its exhibition “Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World.” The works in question upset many in the animal rights community not only for their depiction of animals, but for the cruelty of the exhibits themselves.

Although the museum insisted the animals were treated well, first hand accounts from reporters from the New York Times indicated otherwise. “During the three-month exhibition some creatures will be devoured; others may die of fatigue. The big ones will survive,” the New York Times reported. “From time to time, a New York City pet shop will replenish the menagerie with new bugs.” Apparently, this half-hearted reassurance failed to appease the public. In the end, over half a million people signed the online petition to have the exhibits removed.

The whole thing was a bit disappointing. I suppose as vegans it’s hard to understand how anyone wouldn’t see the ethical problems in using animals as unwilling participants in art. Clearly if the reaction of the art community is anything to go by, we have a long way to go. On the other hand, I’m pleased to see that the public – and the animal rights community – won this round.

A Quick Programming Note:

I’d like to take a moment here to thank ModVegan readers and viewers for their continued support. I recently had a dozen of my most popular videos demonetized by YouTube for allegedly being “unfriendly to advertisers.” I don’t shy away from controversial topics on ModVegan, but I always ensure my coverage is strictly PG, and free from any violent imagery or objectionable language. It’s hard to imagine how my work is “unfriendly” to advertisers, since if it were, no prime time news or talk show would be able to get advertising.

YouTube’s ways are inscrutable, but I sincerely appreciate you all for watching my videos, sharing them, and reading this blog! I’m also particularly grateful to the ModVegan Patreon community for making it clear to me that I need to focus on working for the benefit of the ModVegan viewers, instead of seeking YouTube’s approval. If you would like to be part of the ModVegan Patreon group and get special access to Patron-only livestreams, inside information and the latest news, check us out on Patreon.

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