Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Granted I am nothing if not gullible but,

I spent some more time this afternoon picking around the controversy that is Habacuc and came up with this from the gallery director in Nicaragua where the original piece took place:

"The dog remained in the premises three days, from the 5pm afternoon of Wednesday 15 of August. He was loose all along in the inner patio, except the 3 hours that the sample lasted, was fed regularly with dog food that the same Habucuc brought. Surprise, to the dawn of Friday 17, the dog escaped happening through the iron doors of the main entrance of the building, while the nocturnal watchman who finished feeding cleaned it the outer sidewalk of the same one.

The Gallery Codice reserves the right of guarding by the quality of the exposed works, respecting at any moment the creativity of the artist and it has never tried to exert no type of censorship, as long as they do not attempt against the elementary principles of the ethics and much less than they imply the life of a living being, is human or animal. I thought to remain with "Natividad", but he preferred to return to his own habitat. I celebrate the one that so many people in the international level have been annoying by the declarations offered by Habacuc, in which she maintained that its intention was to let die to the starvation dog, which is of its absolute responsibility. When fulfilling informing the truth into the facts, I hope that all those same people have also elevated their voice of repudio when Natividad Canda was devoured by the Rottweiler."

I mostly get what's being said here although it gets a little confusing at the end.

I also found this little tidbit from the Guardian online:

"Vargas, 32, said he wanted to test the public's reaction, and insisted none of the exhibition visitors intervened to stop the animal's suffering. He refused to say whether the animal had survived the show, but said he had received dozens of death threats."

If you go to Snopes they have the death of the dog in the galley listed as undetermined.

I will say despite the bitchiness of anonymous' post I can sorta see why he/she had their hackles up. Many of the protest sites I found were annoying for there complete lack of critical thinking. One of my favorites referred to Habacuc's artist statement as a bunch of your "typical artist's blah, blah."

Alright blah, blah, blah, this artist is gonna finish up with class and then go out to Biba for the Ol' Man and I's 2 year anniversary!!!!


Anonymous said...

You're right, my criticism could've been phrased much more politely. It's more than a little hypocritical that I condemned you for misplaced outrage without stopping to consider whether I myself was not acting in a similar manner.

I owe you my apologies and thanks for doing due diligence on the story, even though it would've been much easier to write off or delete my angry comment.

Anonymous said...

also, you may be interested in other animal-art controversies such as Eduardo Kac's GFP Bunny (possible -- heck, even likely -- hoax that raised ethical questions and was similarly protested), and Evaristti's "Helena" (probably better known as the 'goldfish in a blender' guy). I think both tend to raise ethical issues, particularly the issue of 'is it ok to do something transgressive simply in order to highlight the transgression?', and whether the artist's actions were simply exploitative rather than a deeper dialogue.

I suppose people tend to bristle that the reaction of some of us is chin-scratching rather than outrage to these sorts of things, and that is what they are attacking; that we would even propose such a work might have merit. I suppose also we are used to faux violence in our music and our movies, but we are too unfamiliar with it on the art stage (which often plays with the line between the real and the fabricated) in such a way that we can be easily fooled. the story here is oddly similar to the (implicitly racist) rumors about Perros Amores -- where the fact that the filming occured in Mexico made some people think that it was possible the dog fights were not staged.

Anonymous said...

well, actually, one more thing: although I think the artists have been mostly justified in creating these works, I think they are of questionable interest to art history and are generally lazy work -- in fact, the only reason we know about them is because of the outrage they have caused. The sort of "trial of the audience's morality" was done best by Abramović's Rhythm 0 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovic) in which she took the risks of this trust herself, rather than foisting it on a cuddly (or well, scaly) creature.

Liv Moe said...

yes! yes! yes! that is a perfect point and is the thing that exists at the core of my criticism. controversial work can at times seem lazy especially when the real risk is to another being other than the artist. abramovic is a perfect example of someone making kick ass controversial work without exploiting the vulnerability of a creature who can't say you know i could give a shit about your concept.

Anonymous said...

My god, how do you intellectualize such a horror. Please, pull your heads out of your artistic arses. Perhaps the artist should have chained up a starving child and watched her die. This also happens each day under our watch. The very fact that this is utterly unacceptable screams out our inherent bias that animals lives are without value and that they deserve no consideration. So...we already know this so....what was the point of this vile installation? Sorry, my ignorance...it was naval gazing. Waste, waste, waste.

Liv Moe said...

hmmm, where was it that i condoned starving the dog? i'm not sure if this comment is directed at me or anonymous but i hope that i've made it pretty clear that i did NOT find it acceptable to starve an animal in the name art. if you are in fact responding to my last post marina abramovic has never harmed an animal in her work or even featured one that i'm aware of so lets just get that straight.

while, i can sorta see why the other anonymous poster would stay anonymous seeing as how he was arguing a less than popular view point, your anonymity doesn't make so much sense seeing as how you're defending common decency.

Liv Moe said...

btw, did you notice the adorable photo of my beloved pound-rescued canine companion in my most recent post?