Artistic Freedom or Animal Cruelty? Contemporary Visual Art Practice That Involves Live and Deceased Animals

Coleman, Ellie and Scollen, Rebecca ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6205-8919 and Batorowicz, Beata ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4915-8357 and Akenson, David (2021) Artistic Freedom or Animal Cruelty? Contemporary Visual Art Practice That Involves Live and Deceased Animals. Animals, 11 (3):812. pp. 1-14. ISSN 2076-2615

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Abstract

This paper examines a selection of 21st-century international examples of exhibited visual artworks involving live or deceased animals. It seeks to reveal the risks and benefits of unique encounters with animals through art and to consider the ethical implications of artwork deploying animals. Australian and international animal protection laws are not explicit when it comes to the sourcing of animals for art nor for the direct inclusion of animals in artworks. This lack leads to a variety of artistic practices, some considered ethical while others are viewed as controversial, bordering on animal cruelty. Artwork selection is determined by a focus on high-profile artists who intentionally use animals in their practice and whose reputation has been fostered by this intention. The study provides insight into how the intentional use of ethically sourced animals within art practice can be a method of addressing hierarchal human–animal imbalances. Further, this study identifies unethical practices that may be best avoided regardless of the pro-animal political statements the artists put forward. Recommendations of how to better determine what is an acceptable use of animals in art with a view to informing legal guidelines and artistic best practice are presented.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Creative Arts (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Creative Arts (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2021 05:58
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2021 00:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: animals, visual art, ethics, cruelty, human–animal hierarchy, animal rights
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190504 Performance and Installation Art
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190502 Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting)
Fields of Research (2020): 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3606 Visual arts > 360602 Fine arts
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3606 Visual arts > 360603 Performance art
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130103 The creative arts
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030812
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/41562

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