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Live Donkey to Be Displayed as Exhibit during Frieze Art Fair

May 4, 2016 by Leave a Comment

The News

In June 2015, the art world took note when animal rights activists staged a protest at a gallery exhibiting live animals in New York City. Both the art press and the mainstream media reported on the controversy. One year later, that protest is referenced in a new article in the Financial Times about Maurizio Cattelan, an artist who is using live donkey in his exhibit at the Frieze Art Fair in NYC: “The US animal rights lobby is increasingly vociferous. Last year, they called out Gavin Brown’s NY Gallery for restaging Jannis Kounellis’s installation of 12 live horses. Is he [Maurizio Cattelan] not worried about protests?”

According to the Financial Times, the exhibit – entitled “Enter at Your Own Risk — Do Not Touch, Do Not Feed, No Smoking, No Photographs, No Dogs, Thank you” – features “a live donkey alone in a room lit by a baroque chandelier.”

Sole donkey to be exhibited at Frieze Art Fair in NYC

Sole donkey to be exhibited at Frieze Art Fair in NYC

Cattelan claims that the donkey will have everything “it” needs, including the company of others: “I’m pretty sure it won’t feel lonely, with so many people passing by.”

Cattelan is better known for using taxidermy in his art installations. According to his Wikipedia page, these “works are designed to connect humans and animals through the projections of human emotions which the former places on the latter.”

Maurizio Cattelan displays dead animals as art

Maurizio Cattelan displays dead animals

Activists argue that animals – dead or alive – are not exhibits. “If we wouldn’t use a toddler in an art installation, then why should we use a donkey, who would be every bit as confused and out of place?” said Donny Moss of “And if we wouldn’t stuff our grandmothers and suspend them from the ceiling, then why should we do the same to horses? Has our false sense of superiority over other animals given us license to do whatever we want with them? ”

Your Turn

The live donkey will be exhibited at the Frieze Art Fair on Randall’s Island Park from May 5 – 8.  Please contact Frieze to give the company feedback on the use of live animals at its art fair.

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Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Well the way I see it he’s got you looking and talking
    You think he might get more out of this than you think?

  2. Cathy Alatorre says:

    Prosecute, and boycott this disgraceful and disgusting excuse for animal abuse!
    It’s not art, it’s exploitation!

  3. Anthony Earley says:

    Animals are not exhibits!

  4. Karen Levenson says:

    Cruelty is not art. The idiot who is doing this is not an artist but an animal exploiter and abuser. He is not talented, he is sociopathic, unable to see the cruelty of his actions and not caring that his actions hurt others. Then there’s the museum who is equally culpable, giving this abuser space to show off his cruelty. He is not making a contribution to the art world, he is depleting it of any moral authority. What next? Selling the donkey at Sotheby’s Auction House?

  5. Kim says:

    This is not art. Who cares about this person calling himself an artist. Everyone should boycott the galleries that allow this kind of display. If no one shows up…this can’t happen. Galleries want to make $$$.

  6. Alina geinshpun says:

    Please stop this madness !

  7. SaLLy says:

    Could this “artist” please explain how this is “art”?

  8. Paula V says:

    Why why why!? Donkeys are sentient beings (with feelings), not objects to be displayed as so called art for our entertainment. If you want to see a donkey go to a sanctuary and share a real moment with one. You’ll realize there’s more to them than you thought.

  9. Ben C says:

    this is so wrong


  10. I find it unconscionable that placing a lone donkey in an unnatural surrounding could be considered “art”. Owning two donkeys who interact constantly with each other as they are a herd animal, such enforced exhibiting is without a doubt animal abuse. Whatever is wrong with the artist, the museum or anyone who would attend that wish to view abuse? Wild burros/donkeys are currently being shot, deprived of water til they die or rounded up by our government’s Bureau of Land Management and sent to overcrowded holding facilities without adequate shelter from extremes of weather and ultimately sent to slaughter only to appease cattlemen who pay a pittance to graze cattle that are far more destructive to the PUBLIC LANDS than are wild burros or Mustangs. For shame, that the attention is not directed to saving lives rather than gawking at animal abuse.

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