The Guggenheim Museum in New York City has caved in to the demands of animal-rights activists and removed three major artworks involving animals out of concern for safety.
The museum came under fire last week after it announced a highly anticipated exhibition by Chinese conceptual artists. One included an artwork titled “Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other,” featuring a video of eight pit bulls trying to attack each other on a nonmotorized treadmill but which never actually make a contact.
The museum decided to remove the works following the weekend of protests by animal rights activists outside the museum, violent threats and an online petition demanding “cruelty-free exhibits” that racked up more than half a million signatures, The New York Times reported.
“Guggenheim - please do what you know in your heart is right. Take a stand with our animal cohabitants of this planet, and pull the artists employing these cruel methods from your upcoming show,” the petition reads.
Last week, the museum said it was going through with the exhibit even though “the work may be upsetting” to some.
The museum now said exhibiting the controversial artwork poses a safety threat. The museum is removing it “out of concern for the safety of its staff, visitors and participating artists.”
“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,” it said in a statement.
“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.”