Poultry not in picture now

Local artist will neither kill nor display chickens

A Kansas University artist's plans to display a traveling chicken coop - and then slaughter its residents - has generated some controversy.

Forget about a chicken in every pot. There won’t even be a chicken in every coop in Lawrence.

The local artist who created a controversy by proposing a Lawrence art project that would end with a public slaughtering of chickens — to create a point about how disconnected consumers are from their food sources — has announced new plans for the project.

The new plans include a lot fewer, well, chickens. Actually, no chickens will be a part of the project.

Artist Amber Hansen, who won a grant for the art project through the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, said she now plans to display an empty chicken coop at various places around Lawrence, beginning on March 30.

The show will end on April 21 at the Percolator art gallery, 913 R.I. Local chefs will share and prepare some food with the community, but Hansen stressed she has abandoned her original plan of serving a chicken noodle dinner made from chickens slaughtered as part of the art project.

“Chickens will not be displayed, nor slaughtered and eaten as part of the project,” Hansen wrote on her blog. “Instead, a handful of invited speakers will share stories about their experience caring for chickens with an open discussion to follow.”

Earlier this week, Hansen told the Journal-World the project would be changed to comply with a City Hall interpretation that the public slaughtering would violate the city’s animal cruelty code. Hansen also was notified of several regulations she would have to meet even if she wanted to keep chickens on a piece of private property as part of the exhibit.

Hansen’s project, titled “The Story of Chickens: A Revolution,” has drawn concern from Lawrence’s Compassion for All Animals Group, and from a group called United Poultry Concerns.

Hansen potentially could have faced a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail for violating the city’s animal cruelty ordinance.