Is This Art? Or Animal Abuse? Animal And Dog Lovers Be Warned…

October 18th, 2007 | by Ginnie | (Visited 1,034,265 times)

Related Animal Abuse Stories On The GinBlog:

Recent Updates To This Story:

  • From Raven of HelpingAnimals.com (4/24/08):
    I wrote to PETA about this, and this is their response:

    Many stories-sometimes conflicting-have been circulating about these events, and it has been difficult to verify the reports that we’ve received.
    Because the initial exhibit with the dog took place in Nicaragua, which has no cruelty-to-animals laws, Vargas cannot be charged with a crime at this time.

    Our investigations department is aware that Vargas will participate in a show in Honduras in November. It has been reported that a Honduran group, the Honduras Association for the Protection of Animals and their
    Environment (AHPRA), has secured the event organizers’ word that the event rules will prohibit animal abuse. PETA’s caseworkers are monitoring this situation and will take further action if we get word that Vargas plans to repeat the exhibit with the dog. People often
    commit heinous acts in a bid to gain attention, so it is important to refrain from encouraging them by giving them the attention that they clearly crave. For more thoughts on this issue, please visit
    http://blog.PETA.org/archives/2008/04/artist_starving.php.

    Exactly what happened at the exhibition in Nicaragua last year may be uncertain, but it is clear that millions of homeless animals are at risk of starvation, disease, violence and death in our own communities right now. To learn more about things you can do to make a difference for these animals, visit http://www.HelpingAnimals.com

  • NBC10 Webisode Video on Vargas (Thanks Jim!)

dog2.JPGThis is one of those things you come across and just have to blink a couple times and ask, “is this real?”. In fact it is.

Guillermo Habacuc Vargas had 2 children catch this dog. He paid the kids for this. He then chained the dog and used the dog as “art”. He told everyone not to feed this dog. The dog died in the gallery. He calls himself an artist. I call him an animal abuser. In that event, (in which the dog died) he was chosen to represent his country in the “Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008″.

Animal Abuse

dog2.JPG

Starving Dog

Dogs

Starving Dog

There is a petition to ban him from this event, which you can visit by clicking this link.

After reading that and digging around, I found this site with a little more information on the incident:

A Costa Rican artist found himself in hot water with the animal protection people in his home country after using a starving, sick street dog as part of an exposition in Managua, Nicaragua, in August. Guillermo “Habacuc” Vargas allegedly found the dog tied up on a street corner in a poor Nicaragua barrio and brought it to the showing. He tied the dog, according to furious animal lovers, in a corner of the salon where it died.

Here is another link about the incident as well, although it’s in another language and I’ve been unable to translate it thus far.

There will always be cultural boundaries and different definitions of what is defined as “art”, but I’ve always maintained that any sort of suffering is pointless. Especially when something like this was preventable.

If this post strikes you, here are a few links to do something about other dogs stuck in terrible conditions:

Save A Dog – Foster A Dog, Save A Life

Can We Help You Keep Your Pet – Abused Dogs

Help Stop Dog Abuse



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1,033 Responses to “Is This Art? Or Animal Abuse? Animal And Dog Lovers Be Warned…”

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  1. 1001
    Rebecca Says:

    Whoever does this is mean!! What kind of stinkin art is this!!

  2. 1002
    Daniel Says:

    Huh. I see what Vargas was trying to show us. If not, then his cruel act has a side effect of showing the world animal cruelty that we sit back and ignore.

    I see stray dogs. What do we do?”Shoo! Get away!” Is that not animal cruelty in itself? Why should we tell the domesticated animal to get away, when we can clearly get food and shelter for it? Why shoo the dog away and condemn it to further starvation? We have vaccines, cures, w/e for strays. My dog was free, given up with a Black Lab mother[father was 1/2 black lab and 1/4 golden retriever, nicest dog I've ever seen], yet he’s better behaved then dogs I see at Petland.

    Save a dog from the pound, give an animal food so it may live.

    Even if Vargas truely is cruel, he has shown us, through his “cruel” actions, that we are no different then he is.

  3. 1003
    In response to Anonymous Artist Says:

    “You do art for yourself, you don’t do it for others” You are whats wrong with our art community today. That’s called art therapy. It doesn’t belong in public. I would love to sit in a critique with you, so that I could help you understand that you are an idiot. Art is communication. A simple installation might communicate complex ideas, concepts, or questions. This Vargas piece is an example of this. Look at the dialogue he’s created. Its not a simple piece. Were the efforts of everything like Duchamp, Klein, Manzoni, Johns, Giocometti, wasted on you? Are you stuck, with your own work, trying to figure out things that were done (better than you will ever do them) hundreds of years ago? Vargas has made a fool out of all of you who don’t appreciate this piece. The dog didn’t die in the gallery. Vargas manipulated his audience the way a painter manipulates paint. He owns this discussion. This is a Post-Duchamp piece, sorry for those of you who are to stubborn or ignorant to comprehend that. If you don’t stop and consider the work, you don’t deserve to comment on it.

  4. 1004
    Maria Teresa Says:

    This “artist” Guillermo Habacuc, said that sadism is also a form of Art. How sick and cruel from him. If that is so, I suggest him, for the next Art Bienal, to be tied up by the genitals, and let him starve, people going by, making photos, and NOBODY trying to save him. Just like they did with that poor dog. And , of course,with a band on his mouth, so he can,t call or speak for pity, just like the dog as well. He (the dog) couldn,t tell anybody how much he was suffering. or you think that because they can,t express with words, they don,t feel. That,s why he should try his own “Art”. I wonder if he would feel so artistic about it.
    He should NEVER be allowed to exhibit again in his life. This world is full of cruelty and sadism, it is a crime, to support those horrible and destructive forces, and even worse, justifying it in the name of Art.
    By the way, I AM an artist, and I DO love animals.
    We are their voices, let,s raise it, against human cruelty, please, everybody should do it, don,t look the other way.

  5. 1005
    Forest Says:

    What the fuck?! What the hell is this guy’s problem?! Someone should tie up this fucking bastard and not give him any care at all! Let’s see how he likes it!! And what the hell is wrong with the people who WATCHED this happen?! Why didn’t you untie the poor creature and feed it? Are you all fucking stupid or something? I mean, come on! I can’t believe you just watched the poor thing starve to death! You people call that art? Are you really that heartless? I hope the guy that did this ends up starving to death and burns in hell for the rest of eternity. And all the people that watched the poor dog starve to death without trying to do anything… I don’t even know what to say to you people. How could you possibly watch that and not try to do anything? Would you like to starve to death while other people stared at you without trying to help? You’re all just as bad as the man who did that. Fucking bastards.

  6. 1006
    In Response to Asswipe # 1003 Says:

    Your petty, politicized “philosophy” of art is what makes people with real artistic talent choose careers as short-order cooks. Your view from the sewers has made toilets at art colleges and museums back up and overflow. Now look what you’ve done! The halls of artistic institutions are coated in sewage and if it’s not shit, it’s not fit to exhibit. You’ve got one side of the coin and Anonymous Artist has the other, and you’ve both pulled so hard that the nothing in between you has escaped and now, voila, art has been proven worthless to normal human beings looking on. Congratulations. Go to a local gallery and paint moustaches on all of the paintings to celebrate your worthlessness.

  7. 1007
    Annie Says:

    I think what Guillermo Habacuc Vargas has done is appauling. I appreciate that he may have wanted to show the plight of street dogs and their suffering. He has created a lot of debate and maybe has increased the number of donations and help available to them. However, I think showing deliberately showing this dog chained up in an art gallery does not allow the animal any dignity; which I’m sure he will argue that the animal had no dignity on the streets but the dog remained free from public viewing. I am amazed that Vargas chose not to feed and better the dog, maybe a better way of dealing with his plight would be to attract the public to improving quality of life through simple acts of kindness!
    At what point do we say that art crosses over to absolute indecency? Do we have to remind Vargas that there are plenty of starving children in the world, that malaria is one of the biggest killers, that AIDS victims in Africa need help, that soldiers lie dying!! I think art at this point needs to be a little more considerate and a little less controversial. There are plenty of things that I would like to change about the world, animal cruelty being one of the top on my list. Small acts of kindness that go un-noticed make a large difference, artists like Vargas need to take note of this and realise that creating outrage may highlight street dogs suffering but maybe to be a better human being he should have chosen to do this in a more positive light. I shall not be visiting his exhibitions and would urge the galleries not to display his work or support this dark form of “art” at the expense of living creatures.

  8. 1008
    Ce-am iubit si ce-am pierdut « fiction addiction Says:

    [...] de gol si uneori greata lasat de arta moderna contemporana super experimentala, de genul asta. Si mi-am amintit de doua zile in care am vizitat consecutiv un muzeu de arta sa zicem clasica si [...]

  9. 1009
    Monique Says:

    That is not fucking art! That is so discusting! How could anyone walk into an art studio and think that not feeding a dog or even any animal is art? Some people have a sick mind!

  10. 1010
    jenna Says:

    i live in the uk and here we dont consider that art we save the stray dogs that live on the street you cruel mexican fuck if i had a chance to meet you and show you how we deal with animal abusers over here,id be in prison so watch your back you have pissed alot of people, alot of people with connections,know what i mean,ur time will come my friend and when it does u will finally get what u deserve for parading that poor helpless animal around in its last few agonising hours before its death.

  11. 1011
    Dan Says:

    Being involved in the art world I can say that this is not art. If I went to that “art” show I would have fed the dog. This man is a horrible person and should not be able to live. I’d like to tie him to a wall and let him starve. Fuck him.

  12. 1012
    Blablabla Says:

    In the art exhibition, it said “You are what you read” and had this dog tied up next to it.

    Then, the artist published later on in the newspaper that the dog had died due to starvation, which was COMPLETELY FABRICATED.

    You’ve all just proven the artist’s point: believing the newspaper is fact and getting all fired up over a LIE without doing your own research. You are what you read.

  13. 1013
    The week of the tastless | RCR digital- A Design Blog & More Says:

    [...] here really is the real issue. Has shock value replaced all creativity? Are these ads the Starving Dog of the ad world? Are they that desperate to produce something they can’t even take the time [...]

  14. 1014
    Schitzpopinov » What is Truth? Says:

    [...] http://www.theginblog.com/ 2007/10/artist-chains-up-d og-until-it-dies-is-this-a rt-or-animal-abuse/ [...]

  15. 1015
    Emily Says:

    i think this guy is a complete idiot, he is so cruel. say no to animal cruelty. life in jail

  16. 1016
    “Artist” Chains Up Dog for Exhibit, Lets it Die! « Jon Henshaw Says:

    [...] so-called artist chained up a sick street dog and let him starve to death as an art exhibit. Guillermo Habacuc Vargas had 2 children catch this dog. He paid the kids for [...]

  17. 1017
    Brittany Says:

    i agree with this entire blog its just WRONG

  18. 1018
    Erin Says:

    I think that someone should chain him up in a corner of an art gallery and starve him to death! If he thinks this kind of suffering is art and wants to call himself an artist then let him suffer for his purpose! Not a helpless animal that has no voice and no choice!

  19. 1019
    Discount Oil Paintings Says:

    It’s not an art..It’s an animal abuse. I think that someone should chain him up in a corner of an art gallery.

  20. 1020
    matt Says:

    I hate him he is so noobish and i will suriously want him arrested

  21. 1021
    xdustinx Says:

    I love how so many of you people read about something so hideous and then just believe only the specific thing you read. Why is it that people refuse to do their own research anymore?

    The only places that I can find anything stating the dog was starved, and even died, are blogs, and petitions. Nothing else. No accountable witnesses, nothing on any legitimate news media, nothing at all. But somehow the tale gets so far fetched that it’s just mythically believed that this artist starved the dog to death. Odd thing, though, how while every other piece of media from Central America regarding this incident states that they can’t confirm anything, the one bit of media that did confirm from the manager of the gallery that Vargas actually did feed and water the dog and care for it for the 21 hours a day that the exhibit wasn’t going on – it gets absolutely ignored?

    Animal rights are fine, but you are doing a disservice to the animal rights movement by reporting on things as if they are truth, when absolutely nothing has been proven.

  22. 1022
    Issac Maez Says:

    AT LAST I got to read your content, there is definately a problem with your XHtml. Have you tried verifying it through W3? It could just be A theme problem though… Just thought I would warn you from one webmaster to another because I would hate to lose my traffic if I had an issue and didn’t notice.

  23. 1023
    Leal Says:

    I do the job with these dogs and as far as animal behavior goes, I am a solid believer in nurture and education. I have met Jack Russell Terriers that I wouldn’t go near again, but have for no reason had a bad encounter with an American Staffordshire Terrier. If you’re speaking about their owners- well, that’s a different story. People are animals as well, and we often every have our own suggestions about “moral concepts”.

  24. 1024
    "Artist" Starves Dog For His "Art" – rayhom.com :: how finite is your evolution? Says:

    [...] Starves Dog For His "Art" ShareI had recently emailed the blog/articles regarding the starving of a dog by a Hondurian, named Guillermo Habacuc Vargas, in the name of art to a lot of my friends whom are mostly dog owners. I got a bunch of strong reactions with the [...]

  25. 1025
    bridey Says:

    This is really terrible, especially the fact that the dog died, no one cared enough to rescue it. The people in the photo don’t even seem to notice the poor dog. It would have felt so much pain before it died. I hope that man went to jail.
    We need to raise more awareness about animal cruelty, especially in other countries.
    I feel for this poor dog and I know it is in a better place now…

  26. 1026
    Frances Dailing Says:

    I’ve truly never seen something like that

  27. 1027
    J.H.M. Says:

    I’m torn here.

    On the one hand, if this is true, I hope the wretch gets what’s coming to him.

    On the other, as far as local news accounts go, it seems that the dog was actually fed and watered by the gallery owners quite sufficiently before running off, hence proving several rather uncomfortable points about all of us, the most brutal being the penchant to jump to dangerous conclusions based on incomplete information.

  28. 1028
    mary jane Says:

    I think it’s a pathetic attempt at being creative.Who does he think he is? In a sense it was meant to happen as every single living thing has an expirey date but he is not God or a higher being he doesn’t have the right to take what doesn’t belong to him. To purposely decide to take a life is not a good thing even if it was a fly or a mozzy it doesn’t matter it doesn’t excuse his actions. And for animal lover’s out there I don’t understand why you’re not doing anything to make sure that there are no animals starving in the streets so that they cannot become victims of such crimes. If the so called artist didn’t use the dog , chances are the dog would have probably died on the street and no one would’ve known or cared. You should commend him for showing you that ignorance kills, because I’m pretty sure no one noticed the dog went missing until it was famously proclaimmed as the “dead dog”. if it was a publicity stunt for the artist, then well shame on him but really would you have done anything? Now be honest with yourself. i was very socked to but you sometimes have to take a step back and think. What are you doing but pointing fingers. The only thing we can do for the dead dog is protect many others like him on the street, starving, everyday. It is easy to point a finger when you have no one pointing a finger at you.

  29. 1029
    sam Says:

    i think that people like that sould be put in jail! =(

  30. 1030
    will Says:

    I think it is fascinating that everyone is all up in arms about how this one dog has been cruelly tortured. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fucked up to tie any living creature to a wall and then not feed it. While you may want to be angry at the artist, you should also be angry at every member of the public that knew about this and didn’t go feed the dog (despite the order’s of the artist). Did it ever cross your PETA brains that the real artwork was what PEOPLE would do when faced with this situation? The dog might be the catalyst, but it just goes to show that all that’s necessary for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. Stop trying to ban this artist from events– successful art is controversial– the point is to start a conversation which he clearly has done.

  31. 1031
    Eccentric Aesthetics Says:

    [...] If you guys don’t recognize the name, he’s the artist who starved a dog for an art exhibit.  Of course you’d expect a bunch of controversy around it (and here I am talking about something that happened so long ago) with something like that.  I [...]

  32. 1032
    CanadaGal Says:

    After reading as much information as I could find on this story I have come to understand several things. Firstly the only actual evidence in this story are the very disturbing pictures of the poor animal who was tied up for the art exhibition. While I found all the photos disturbing the one where people are standing around doing nothing, while the dog lies curled up, starving & ignored is hard to look at. I do not understand how people could be present at that exhibit and not do anything to help that beautiful little soul. Other than the photos from the gallery there is absolutely no proof at all to state that the dog starved to death or that it escaped. All there is are a statements from a few individuals who all seem to claim different things. Keeping that in mind all I do know for sure is that the dog was exhibited and that alone is an act of extreme cruelty. We will never know wether the dog lived or escaped as there are no pictures of the dog dead nor are there any of him alive & doing well. What I have taken from all of this is that much of the world has lost its ability to feel compassion and empathy for another living soul when it clearly needed help. Regardless of the artists intentions of the message he was apparently trying to spread there are many other ways he could have went about doing so. I feel deeply for the beautiful living creature that was used in such a way. Where ever he may be I hope he has finally found some peace.

  33. 1033
    dan camp Says:

    For all of the idiots claiming this was a work of art showing that ignorance and neglect kills…… Shut it!!!

    In nature an animal is not dragged inside of a building for the enertainment of wacked out art losers. In nature this dog was free, free to live free to die. When it is taken away from nature and chained up it stands no chance. At least a stray dog can look for food. If you see a dog chained or tied up for days do somthing about it. At very least untie it.

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