End Displays of Live Animal Cruelty at Museum

Target: Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Goal: Close the displays of live reptiles devouring prey and dog fighting training display.

Advocates are in an uproar over alleged animal cruelty displays at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. One display includes live reptiles and insects “devouring each other” and the other is a video of dogs tethered to non-motorized treadmills. The dogs are facing one another which is often the scenario used to train dogs for fighting. The Guggenheim has been accused of animal cruelty.

The live dog display was first introduced in 2003 by artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu at the Today Museum in Bejing and included four pairs of pit-bull like dogs tethered to treadmills facing each other in close proximity. The piece was called “Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other” and has been defended by Guggenheim as “an intentionally challenging and provocative artwork that seeks to examine and critique systems of power and control.” The demonstration was recorded and is set to be displayed in October in New York City. According to The Huffington Post, “animal welfare activists say that the video itself is unethical because of how it was created and the way it depicts pit bulls.” The New York Times article on the display describes the dogs as getting “wearier and wearier, their muscles more and more prominent, and their mouths increasingly salivate.”

Some of the other displays involve various insects and reptiles such as the leopard gecko, centipedes, millipedes, grasshoppers, beetles, corn snakes and sulcata tortoises, some of which will be eaten during the display. The display is meant to be a metaphor for people who are different coexisting in one place. Sign this petition demanding the Guggenheim Museum in New York City close these displays and all other displays depicting animal cruelty immediately and send the animals in question to appropriate and ethical caretakers.


Dear Mr. Armstrong,

It has come to our attention that a few artists’ exhibits of questionable ethics are set to be displayed during your October show. There are two exhibits that are of deepest concern as they depict the most disturbing expressions. They include “Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other” by artists,Sun Yuan and Peng Yu and “Theater of the World” by Huang Yong Ping.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opposes the use of animals in art if that use produces distress or pain to the animals. Distress and even death, in the case of “Theater of the World,” is very evident in both of these displays and we demand that you cancel both exhibits. There are other exhibits in question, such as the ink covered mating pigs that should be removed as well. While we would like to support art exhibits, we simply cannot under such conditions and when unethical and cruel exhibits are exalted as artistic expression.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: New York Times

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  1. Kathleen Nagy-DeRosa says:

    With all the animal abuse around us in our everyday lives, do you really think this is a piece of art? Why would you give abusers more ideas what to do with these poor animals? Shame on you Guggenheim Museum for hosting such a horrendous display of animal cruelty in the name of art! What’s next, a man trying to rape a woman to see the terror before disaster strikes? Get your stuff together for crying out loud! How despicable can you be? Tell these artists to go back to wherever the hell they came from! I bet the artists don’t see anything wrong with the Mulin Dog Meat trade and “festival.” Send these artist packing!

  2. The Guggenheim has now lost all credibility in the museum world. This display is not art, it’s animal abuse sanctioned by the museum and the Guggenheim should be charged with animal cruelty and hit with a massive fine for rubber stamping animal abuse and for calling this crap art.

  3. This is NOT art but pure evil animal abuse!!! Shame on them for allowing this to happen. Animals are not meant to be treated like this. This is no museum & needs to be charged with animal abuse!!! Shame on Guggenheim!!!!! Just makes me sick.

  4. darin lingenfelter says:

    How dare you display animal cruelty as an art or exhibit piece! Do you show child abuse too? How about rape or the torture of other animals? Shall I list all horendous and shameful acts conducted by human beings?

    I will go there; expect legal action.

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