PETA to Pierre Menard: Take down “Meat After Meat Joy”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling on Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge “to take down the ‘Meat After Meat Joy’ exhibit and commit to displaying only exhibits that don't support gratuitous animal suffering.”
The gallery has said the show (as seen above) “investigates the paradoxical relationship meat has to the body.”
"Unless you're Hannibal Lecter, there's nothing 'artistic' or 'joyful' about meat," PETA Senior Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a press release today. "If it's unacceptable to kill humans for an art exhibit, then it should be unacceptable to kill animals too."
PETA faxed its complaint to the gallery today, spokesperson Ashley Byrne said. Asked whether anyone from the group had visited the exhibit, she told me, “I don’t know whether anyone actually has seen the show.”
July 11 update:
Pierre Menard Gallery does not plan to cut short the run of its current exhibit “Meat After Meat Joy” after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on the gallery Wednesday to shut down the show, gallery director Nathan Censullo tells me. More here.
The entire PETA press release and letter follows:
July 9, 2008
PETA Calls On Pierre Menard Gallery to Take Down 'Meat After Meat Joy' Exhibit
This morning, PETA fired off a letter to Nathan Censullo, director of the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, urging him to remove an exhibit called "Meat After Meat Joy" from his gallery. PETA's letter was prompted by news reports about a group of 10 artists who used various types of meat as a medium for their exhibition. The "artwork" includes a flag, a book, and a representation of a baby girl, all composed of animal flesh. In its letter, PETA explains that there is nothing joyful about meat and that animals killed for food are made of flesh, blood, and bone—just as humans are. Animals also have the same senses and emotions that humans have. PETA suggests that Censullo instead create an exhibit that depicts the suffering of the billions of animals who are abused and killed by the meat industry every year.
"Unless you're Hannibal Lecter, there's nothing 'artistic' or 'joyful' about meat," says PETA Senior Vice President Tracy Reiman. "If it's unacceptable to kill humans for an art exhibit, then it should be unacceptable to kill animals too."
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PETA's letter to Director Nathan Censullo follows.
Nathan Censullo, Director
Pierre Menard Gallery
Dear Mr. Censullo,
On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters—including many thousands in and around Boston—I am writing to urge you to take down the "Meat After Meat Joy" exhibit and commit to displaying only exhibits that don't support gratuitous animal suffering.
Unless you're Hannibal Lecter, there's nothing "artistic" or "joyful" about meat. If it's unacceptable to kill humans for an art exhibit, then it should be unacceptable to kill animals too. Quite simply, meat isn't joy: It's misery. Your Web site refers to meat as a "medium," as if it were no different from paper or canvas. But meat is not a medium. It's the flesh of an animal who valued his or her life, just as you do, until that life was violently cut short. Like human beings, animals are made of flesh, blood, and bone. Animals have the same five senses that we do, and they have the same capacity to experience love, joy, suffering, and fear. Animals desire to live their lives free of pain and fear—not to be exploited for "art."
Why not do something truly meaningful, enlightening, and life-changing for your patrons, such as creating an exhibit that shows the horrors that the meat industry inflicts on animals? You could create replicas of mother pigs crammed in metal-and-cement cages that are too narrow even to turn around. We'd be happy to lend you video footage showing that chickens and turkeys' throats are cut while they're still conscious and that fish slowly suffocate on the decks of fishing boats. Depicting the violent truth behind the meat industry would cause your patrons to question long-held beliefs and ponder what the relationship between humans and animals should be.
Please let me know what your decision is and whether you would like me to send you copies of the video footage that I mentioned. Thank you for your consideration.
Senior Vice President