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Anger Over Animals in Art

Friday 21st April / posted by Graeme Watson

Tasmanian winter festival Dark Mofo has announced it will stage the controversial exhibition 150.Action, performed by Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch.

True to Nitsch’s previous work, it incorporates animal blood, meat and organs in a live three-hour performance. At its centre is a slaughtered Bull.

Mofo Creative Director Leigh Carmichael says the animal isn’t killed during the performance, that it’s killed humanely beforehand.

Animal rights groups remain outraged.

The lines of ethics in contemporary modern art like 150.Action are definitely controversial.

Graeme spoke  with Animal Liberation Tasmania Committee Member Kristy Algar, she began by stating her stance on the exhibition.

Play Kristy Algar

Graeme also spoke to University of Tasmania Animal Studies & Visual Arts Researcher Yvette Watt, who says she’s against censorship of art but slaughtering an animal crosses a line.

Play Yvette Watt

Dark Mofo has declined an interview with RTRFM, but has provided a statement below:

Firstly, and most importantly, there will not be a live animal slaughtered as part of any Dark Mofo performance.

The Herman Nitsch work in question uses meat, fish, fruit and blood, live performers and an orchestra as part of the performance. The animal to be used is specifically on the market for slaughter. The carcass will be sourced locally, and the animal will be killed humanely, adhering to Australian standards.

It is the artist’s intention that the meat be eaten after the event, and we are working through addressing the health and safety regulations to achieve this outcome.

Due to the difficult nature and themes of the work, entry to the three-hour performance will be unsuitable for people aged under 18 years.

Dark Mofo has been exploring ancient ritual and ceremony since it’s inception in 2013. Herman Nitsch is a highly regarded international artist who has been presenting variations of this work for five decades, and we believe this work is as relevant today as it was when it was first performed in Vienna in 1962.

We understand that his work will be confronting and difficult, but we will not shy away from presenting work that challenges s to consider ethical implications of our actions both today, and in the past.  

All live musical performances are included in our podcasts with the express permission of artists, who reserve all other rights in their music. All music used in our podcasts is licensed under an APRA Community Broadcasting license agreement.

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