Letters to the Editor

‘Art’ violence

February 27, 2012


To the editor:

It is with disgust and dismay that I read about the Spencer Museum of Art’s plans to sponsor Amber Hansen’s “The Story of Chickens” event, which purports to be a revolutionary examination of the relationship between people and chickens. There is nothing revolutionary about parading traumatized, caged chickens in high traffic areas, followed by a demonstration of violently beheading them, and culminating in a meal in which the public is invited to feast on the mutilated corpses of those animals.

Just as “the emperor has no clothes,” the Spencer’s superficial defense of this crude “art” project as “an artist’s right to self-expression” reflects a serious lack of cultural and moral depth. If the Spencer is touting the enormous outpouring of public outrage as evidence of a “revolutionary” project, then they are missing the point entirely: that throughout the world, all civilized people abhor gratuitous violence.

I respectfully call on the Spencer to cancel the event, or at least eliminate the slaughter of live animals and allow the chickens to be adopted by Farm Sanctuary, as well as to adopt a “no live animals” policy going forward. Otherwise, they bear lifelong responsibility for the ridicule of the Kansas arts community as a haven for antiquated, violent, and bloody animal slaughter masquerading as “art.”


Brock Masters 6 years, 1 month ago

How dare you define art. If someone puts a cruxifix in a bottle of urine and declares it art then it is art. If they want to kill a chicken and announce it is art then it is art.

How conservative-like of you to try to limit art. Shame on you Beth.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 1 month ago

I once explained the cruelty of gardening to a friend: how I walk up to the corn, rip off their ears and eat them; or grab the broccoli, cut off their heads and eat them. Oh the horror, the horror.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 1 month ago

Beth, Do you eat meat? If not, do you eat? Either way kills an existing life in order to sustain your own. This is the existential reality that every living thing is faced with. The relationship of life sustaining itself by consuming another life is a worthy subject for a quality artistic endeavor, do you not agree? It certainly fits any definition of art that I've seen. Have you seen the movie Eat, Drink, Man, Woman? It's a wonderful, artisic film that includes lots of food preparation, including killing a chicken. I see nothing about Amber's project that shows a lack of respect for either the food (chickens) or the consumer (the viewer of the chickens). The fact that the chickens are killed is done in a context of awareness that is a legitimate exploration of that relationship between people and animals that they eat, something that most folks are entirely divorced from in ways that are not entirely healthy. Have you ever thought that some potential outcomes of this art project would be 1) Folks will raise their own chickens or buy locally raised free-range chickens from area farmers instead of buying chickens raised in industrial confinement operations, the same way that people grow their own gardens/buy local at the Farmer's Market; 2) maybe reconsider their relationship with meat and choose to eat less of it?

Would you have problems with either of these outcomes?

Kirk Larson 6 years, 1 month ago

I have mixed feelings about this. I suppose so long as the chickens are treated relatively humanely it's OK. They will probably be better off than most of the factory farm chickens we eat. My mother told me stories of killing chickens for dinner in the back yard as a little girl. In the end, this piece will either educate meat eaters about where their food comes from or it may make more vegetarians due to the ick factor.

Kontum1972 6 years, 1 month ago

and there is Rick Sanatorium....cluck cluck.....the Pope has not endorsed him yet.....

and Whitney had deep problems too....

give us "SPARTICUS".....

Kontum1972 6 years, 1 month ago

i wish there was a Popeye's chicken in lawrence...Amen!

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