Three controversial artworks in the upcoming exhibition in New York’s Guggenheim, Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, have been pulled after protest from animal-rights groups.
Critics claimed that the pieces promoted cruelty towards animals, including a work entitled “Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other,” which showed footage of dogs on treadmills. Vulture reports an online petition was started to remove these works from the show and received over 600,000 supporters.
Originally, the museum defended the pieces in the exhibition in value of freedom of expression, but later issued a statement saying some works will be removed due to threat of violence and public safety:
“Out of concern for the safety of its staff, visitors, and participating artists, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has decided against showing the art works Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), Theater of the World (1993), and A Case Study of Transference (1994) in its upcoming exhibition Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World. Although these works have been exhibited in museums in Asia, Europe, and the United States, the Guggenheim regrets that explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary. As an arts institution committed to presenting a multiplicity of voices, we are dismayed that we must withhold works of art. Freedom of expression has always been and will remain a paramount value of the Guggenheim.”