10 Controversial Works of Art Using Live Animals

If you salivate at the sight of bacon, would you be OK with watching a squirming pig being tattooed? If the thought of eating animal flesh sickens you, do you hate the very idea of using live animals in art, or can you justify it if the art is good? Do you feel more sympathy for a horse, a dog, or a goldfish? Some calls are easier to make than others, but there’s a bit of an ethical grey area when it comes to live animals in art. Check out our brief survey of works and the creatures that made them possible, and find your own gradient of sensitivity. Where do you stand?

Photo credit: Martha Cooper

Miru Kim, I Like Pigs and Pigs Like Me at Art Basel Miami

Artist Miru Kim spent 104 hours in a glass-encased hog pit inside of the Primary Flight Gallery at Art Basel 2012 for her performance I Like Pigs and Pigs Like Me. The makeshift pen was livestreamed as Kim imagined the life of a pig, mingling her flesh with the animals’. Nude and on all fours, she interacted with her companions, feeding, hugging, scratching, and rolling around with them. Though the two pigs were reportedly headed to a no-kill farm after the exhibit, an animal activist alleged they were sick and abandoned.