The San Francisco Art Institute mounted an exhibit which was to run through May 31st entitled "Don't Trust Me." It comprised video images of six different animals, a doe, a goat, a horse, an ox, a pig, and a sheep being bludgeoned to death with a large sledgehammer by Adel Abdessemed of Paris, who calls himself an "artist."
This sick exhibit is nothing more than a disgusting attempt to pass off the brutal abuse and killing of animals as legitimate art. It is not art by any definition, but butchery.
What such "artists" and their patrons choose to overlook is that animals are living beings who feel and suffer. We are no more justified in taking their lives than in killing another person. Such abuse of animals may elicit horror and disgust in viewers, but that does not qualify it as art. In fact, it represents the very worst impulses of the human imagination.
It takes no artistic talent to kill animals, and Abdessemed should not have been given a venue for his sickening "work." To its great discredit, SFAI agreed to sponsor this exhibit, lending it an air of credibility, but equally offensive are the obscene rationalizations offered in defense of the snuff films.
These include claims that such killings "regularly take place...in the real world, on a regular basis," and that the installation "makes typical moral and cultural constraints seem beside the point."
Moral constraints are never beside the point. When we become so numb that such brutality does not affect us, we have lost our humanity.
While the exhibit may raise people's consciousness about the daily cruelties committed against animals, it also encourages them to accept such abuse as a way of gaining attention and notoriety.
What is more, to call someone who murders animals an "artist" is an insult to every real artist who declines to rely on violence and shallow, sensationalistic gimmicks to express his or her vision.
What's next -- murdering children?
Amid protests from an organization called In Defense of Animals, the exhibit has been temporarily suspended. The San Francisco Art Institute is holding an open forum tomorrow which will determine whether they reinstate it. I will be there, along with many others, to speak for the animals.