Artist Damien Hirst has several animal rights organizations up in arms after clipping the wings of over 9,000 butterflies for an art exhibition.
Hirst, known for his controversial animal art including a formaldehyde-soaked shark and a decapitated cow head, held an exhibition at the Tate Modern in London with two windowless rooms swirling with the winged creatures. The piece, titled In And Out Of Love, did not make the hearts of animal rights activists flutter as numbers reveal that almost 400 died every seven days during the 23-week showcase.
Now the artist is beefing with the RSPCA. “In this so-called ‘art exhibition’, butterflies are forced to exist in the artificial environment of a closed room for their entire lives,” a spokesman for the RSPCA told The Telegraph. “There would be national outcry if the exhibition involved any other animal, such as a dog. Just because it is butterflies, that does not mean they do not deserve to be treated with kindness.”
In his defense, a Tate rep says, ” “The butterflies used in this [Hirst] work were all sourced from reputable UK butterfly houses and were selected from varieties known to thrive in the conditions created.
“The butterflies lived out the final stage of their natural life cycle inside this room. Approximately 400 butterflies were introduced to the exhibition over the course of each week, with many enjoying longer lifespans than in the wild due to the high quality of this environment.”
I wonder what Mariah Carey would say about this.