A performance art piece has caused a lot of controversy in Canada. The Alberta College of Art + Design recently fired one of its most revered instructors, Gordon Ferguson, after a student's confrontational message about animal cruelty.
So this is what happened: on April 18th, ACAD student Miguel Suarez apparently showed a live white chicken to a room of students. He “cooed at the creature, comforted it.” Then he abruptly slit the chicken's throat and placed the feathers and entrails into a pot (images can be seen here). His demonstration received mixed reactions.
Police arrived shortly after but no charges were pressed. Although it was graphic, it wasn't illegal. The school provided counseling for those who saw the performance art. Suarez explained in a video that his work was meant to raise awareness: “I just wanted to put it out there, that that’s the process that it takes."
Professor Gordon Ferguson was let go. He has not spoken on the subject, advised by his lawyers. He has since been reinstated. The college will hold a symposium in the next academic year to discuss the project. Below you can see a news report made about the incident that shows some of student reactions.
People have claimed animal cruelty many times in the past when it comes to art projects. For instance in 2008 artist Guillermo Vargas showed what looked like a starving dog that was chained just out of the reach of some food for his installation “You Are What Your Read.” In late 2012, MOCA in L.A. displayed a work that grinds dead pigeons dressed as Arab dignitaries and flings the remains at spectators.
Well, um, we hope you weren't eating anything.