There are a lot of silly groups on Facebook, and I tend to ignore most of the ones that I get invited to, but this one caught my attention because it seemed so insane I thought it was a hoax:
“In 2007, the ‘artist’ Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, took a dog from the street, tied him to a rope in an art gallery and began starving him to death. For several days, the ‘artist’ and the visitors of the exhibition watched, emotionless, the shameful ‘masterpiece’ based on the dog’s agony, until eventually he died. Does THIS sound like art to you? But this is not all… the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of Central America decided that the ‘installation’ WAS actually art, so Guillermo Vargas Habacuc has been invited to repeat his cruel action for the Biennial of 2008.”
I fully admit to not being a “modern art” guy, and not understanding or “appreciating” much of what I see in the realm of modern art. So long as my tax dollars aren’t being used to fund it, and the art doesn’t abuse the rights of others, artists can do pretty much whatever they want in my book. But this is so completely over the line it’s ridiculous. I wanted it to be a hoax, but it seems that it’s not. I’m not one of those hyper-PETA types that thinks animals are more important than people, but I am one of those dog-owner types that gets very, very angry when he sees people being cruel to dogs. If this “artist” Habacuc wants to explore the themes of starvation and suffering, he should chain himself up and tell people not to feed him. Doing this to any living being against its will is cruelty, nothing less.
How can we stop this from happening again? There are two online petitions: one in English, one in Spanish (I think), and if you take a minute to check out this Facebook group, there’s a well-written email that you can put your name to and send to the Centro Nacional de la Cultura, the gallery that has invited him to repeat this process again – although according to Snopes it seems he might not do any “art” involving a dog.