Reflection: Art Related to Animal Rights
Art Related to Animal Rights Review
By Hector Medina (06/09/13 14:30:31)
Related animals: Goldfish, Rat

1. What does Steve Baker think of Randy Malamud and others who criticize artists working with animals of being non-ethical?

Steve Barker believes that artists who collaborate with animals to make art should not be judged. He thinks that there should be guidelines, like Malamud mentions, but art is to be inventive and free. Artist that criticizes artist working with animals should be seen as artists who have an approach more radical and open minded. He says that they should be seen as artists that employ “different tools for thinking [and have] the potential to offer a distinct way of framing or unframing issues.”

2. According to Baker, what is the issue with looking at the ethical issues of an artwork before making a proper reading of it?

He thinks that some critiques make judgment too fast. They will express their ‘disapproval or skepticism, and on occasion [they] will simply refuse to engage with the work.” Artists that collaborate with animals should not be dismissed because of their unfamiliarity. They should look at the art first and then consider it not simply omit for failing their ethical guidelines.

3. What is some of Baker's criticism of the Rat Piece and Helena?

He is not comfortable with these methods of creating art. The piece with the burning rats was to symbolize Jones’s time in Vietnam, but there could be better ways of executing it. Helen piece lies on the audience not on the animal. It’s as if the animals were used to make art, different from collaborating with them.

4. Is Baker defending the Rat Piece and Helena? How/Why?

He is not defending the pieces as art, but he does acknowledge the purpose or message they are trying to portray. He does think they can both be executed in a different way where the animals were not a prop but a collaborator.

5. According to Baker, can we trust artist to work with/use animals?

I think he believes we can work with animals, I mean our class is and so far we haven’t heard anything about animal torture so the sake of art. He believes there is a right way to creating art with animals, so he does have some trust in artist.

6. Do you think artist have ethical responsibilities? Why/why not? What are those ethical responsibilities in regards to working with animals?

Artist, just like any other person should hold a sense of respect and boundaries when interacting with animals. To showcase something to simply stimulate someone’s emotions and feelings is not a good piece of art. There is some ethical responsibility to care for someone/thing’s life.

7. What does Bryndis Snaebjornsdotter mean when she says it is impossible to ask if it is ethical to use animals in art without also asking if it is ethical to use them in science and for food? Do you agree/disagree?

I do agree to a certain extent. The animals used in science are to help us by providing helpful research and health benefits. Animals used in art have different purposed. They will not benefit us in any other way than visually. So I do think it’s somewhat ethical to use animals in science if their purpose is to help, yet are killed.

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