Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And the audience was no better

Every so often, as I surf the internet, I come across something which I consider to be rock bottom with respect to human behaviour. But then inevitably something worse comes along.

There is an on-line petition going round condemning the art of a Costa Rican artist, Guillermo Vargas Habacuc. It's gained so much internet momentum, I find it strange this hasn't been more widely reported in the news up here in Canada.

Supposedly, Guiller, as part of an art exhibit in Managua last year, tied a street dog to the wall of a gallery and left it there for several days without food or water so that people could watch it starve to death - which it did. Or maybe not, because now that Gui has gotten so much hate mail, he's changed his story to say that the dog was actually fed and eventually escaped from the gallery.

In Gu's original statements, he said the piece was dedicated to some crack addict who was mauled to death by a couple of guard dogs after said addict trespassed on private property. Post hate mail, the purpose of the exhibit was changed to try to deflect some of the worldwide condemnation being heaped at Gu's stinky feet. Now the exhibit was apparently meant to highlight the plight of starving, stray dogs, Gu's point being that if the dog was starving outside, no one would have batted an eye but by bringing it into a gallery, the world notices.

Oh, I get it. He was trying to help starving dogs. So where was the donations box?

It's impossible to figure out what is true and what is not. There are lots of pictures floating around of an emaciated, but still alive, dog tied to a gallery wall while young art hipsters look on sipping fancy cocktails. So, at a bare minimum, it seems the exhibit did take place(I'm not posting links to any pictures because they make me ill. If you want to see them, just do a search). The veracity of everything else about the exhibit found on the internet, like most everything on the internet, is open to conjecture.

Whether or not Gu is one sick fuck is debateable. Well, no, it's not debateable. He is a sick fuck but to what rancid depth is he a sick fuck? Anyone who exploits a starving dog for art, regardless of whether or not it was fed and "escaped", regardless of his manufactured intentions, is soulless. As for his few supporters who suggest that Gu has done a service by bringing the world's attention to the stray dog situation in Latin America by chaining and starving a dog to death in a gallery, I can only hope that they don't decide to help out any hungry children.

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