Controversial animal art exhibit still at risk
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Tuesday, April 10, 2007 10:57PM EDT
A controversial art exhibit that puts various snakes, lizards, scorpions and insects together could still get shut down despite some retooling.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals asked a veterinarian to review the "Theatre of the World" exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery and make recommendations.
"It depends on whether those recommendations can be made within the existing structure that they have," Marcie Moriarty, the general manager of cruelty investigations for the B.C. SPCA, told The Canadian Press on Tuesday.
The veterinarian presented a draft report to the gallery late Tuesday.
"In speaking with the art gallery, they've indicated that they are prepared to comply, to review the report and comply with all of the recommendations made by the vet," Moriarty said later in reaction.
If the gallery doesn't comply, a warrant could be issued for seizure of the creatures in the exhibit.
The "Theatre of the World" is one of 40 installations in the "House of Oracles" show by Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping.
Previous exhibitions at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis or the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art didn't generate the same type of complaints.
"There's a lot of discussion around the ideas that this work offers. Around how we engage as individuals, how races get along together, how humans have an impact on the natural world," said Daina Augaitis, curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
She said the gallery was committed to working with the SPCA to keep the installation open.
Heating and lighting have been added, along with escape spaces. The artist has given his blessing to the changes.
Some kids thought it would be cool to see the animals, but one person felt it was "a little bit of a stretch to see this as art."
Peter Fricker of the Vancouver Humane Society saw the exhibit this way: "The purpose seems to be to allow an observer to see potential conflict between these animals, and we think that's, frankly, a little bit sick."
His group thought the animals in the exhibit deserved to be treated humanely, so it complained.
"There's a number of different species being kept in this exhibit and they come from various parts of the world," Moriarty said.
"You wouldn't find some of these specimens living together or having any interaction."
With a report from CTV's Todd Battis and files from The Canadian Press