speciesisminart pigeons

Artwise, the ‘London based curatorial collective and ideas studio’, who curated the show Beastly Hall, describe their role as, ‘matching clients with some of the most innovative thinking around today’. Disappointing then that eleven out of the 26 featured artists are using animals (living or dead) or animal body parts and include some of the most familiar and least innovative art; taxidermy. Regardless of whether the animal was roadkill, found taxidermy, died of old age or any other excuse given to justify using animals bodies in their work, these artists are contributing to animal suffering. This is because they have assumed the authority of the owner of the animal’s body and image which is then used  to the detriment of the animal and for the gain of the artist.  A fox in an unnatural position lying on a bed snarling (Nina Saunders), a bulls heart with a sword through it (Damien Hirst), the head of one species on the body of another species (Thomas Grünfeld), pigeons fixed together in a mass to make a more ‘interesting’ sculpture (Polly Morgan).

The exhibition hand-out says of Nina Saunders, “Her work is jovial and fun, whilst laden with contemplative ideas.”  Sarah Lucas whose photograph, ‘Sex Baby’, includes a dead chicken is, ” Never one to shy away from controversy, Lucas’s work is known for being provocative and humorous”.  Also humorous is Carina Weidle, her “Olympic Chickens inject some humour into the beastly theme of this exhibition”. Also never-shying-away is Claire Morgan, “never shying away from difficult and decaying material”

Living animals in their natural habitat are already amazing and funny, they are not ours to own or to use in a derogatory way in art.