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Art centre in Drogheda using live dogs in exhibition

category national | animal rights | news report author Monday February 23, 2009 16:15author by Laura Broxson - National Animal Rights Associationauthor email naracampaigns at gmail dot comauthor address PO Box 11019, Dublin 2. Report this post to the editors

Help us stop it!


We've just been alerted to the fact that the Droichead Art Centre (Stockwell Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth) will be hosting an exhibition by Seamus Nolan, in which 2 live dogs are kept in pens, called "If Art Could Save Your Life". The dogs will be kept on display from 10am - 5pm, everyday, from wed. 25th Feb. - 20th March. What's even more shocking is the fact that the local dog pound actually gave the dogs to them, willingly, for the exhibition. For more info see: http://www.droicheadartscentre.com/whats-on/index.php?i...e_289

Please contact the following, asking that the dogs be removed and the exhibition cancelled immediately:

Droichead Art Centre: info@droichead.com +353 (0)41 9833946

Louth SPCA: Hon. Secretary: Alwyn Mathews Tel: 087 2532716.
Hon. Inspector: Ms. Fiona Squibb Tel: 042 9335045
Email: fionasirena@eircom.net

ISPCA: info@ispca.ie +353 (0)43 250 35

Thank you!

Laura Broxson

National Animal Rights Association

Related Link: http://www.naracampaigns.org
author by kowalskipublication date Mon Feb 23, 2009 18:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I cant believe that two dogs in a cage could cause such an uproar. Are any of these animals being abused?, if so it is a cause for concern.

author by k9publication date Mon Feb 23, 2009 21:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is the same artist who was behind Hotel Ballymun - an art project which drew a lot of comment when it was reported on indymedia- http://www.indymedia.ie/article/81761

I can see some merit in this project, but some bedding for the dogs and something for them to play with would seem essential, as at the moment the cages seem to have nothing but bare floors and bars. That amounts to sensory deprivation.

I understand the dogs will be exercised in the mornings and evenings, but locking an animal in a bare cage with nothing to interact with is cruel, however you describe it.

author by K9publication date Mon Feb 23, 2009 21:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

from the gallery website


author by aesthetepublication date Mon Feb 23, 2009 22:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But is this art? Aren't there dozens of young artists yearning for space to exhibit their paintings and sculptures? Some public funding goes into the visual arts nowadays (but it will dry up fast because of the economic downturn) so one would expect curators to be more responsive to the aesthetic preferences of the art buying public. Are these doggies for sale? I know this thing would be classified as an 'installation'. Nowadays it's a gimmicky thing to clutter rooms in art galleries with all sorts of installations, the meaning and aesthetic merit of which are dubious. Skilled painters using oils, pastels, watercolours, line drawings and engraving techniques are being deprived of attention on account of these gimmicks. Members of the art community should take the matter up, And, yes, the use of doggies in the way shown in the photo should be seriously questioned.

author by estremapublication date Tue Feb 24, 2009 01:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

those dogs are going to be put down. the artist is actually sparing their lives for another week. so whether or not you agree with their sensory deprivation, it should be acknowledged that perhaps the artist is trying to send a message, superficially about the dogs lives and their inevitable end at the hands of people and a deeper message about society and apathy. they dont seem to be in any pain and if it causes such an uproar among the community it might get people off their asses to take part a little in community projects to improve our areas and the lives of people and animals.

he did manage to induce strong passionate feelings in people which for some maybe wouldnt have come about without something a little outrageous.

i think sometimes artists go too far or use the wrong means to communicate their message but the artist seems to have gone to certain lengths to ensure the health of the dogs isnt comprimised in their last length of life.

author by estremapublication date Tue Feb 24, 2009 01:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

can i ask what is art.

why does art have to be a skill of some kind like drawing or engraving.

why can art not be about provoking a feeling or emotion. thats a skill in itself that is deeply routed in the artistic process. sometimes drawings cannot convey the same level of provocation.

author by aesthetepublication date Tue Feb 24, 2009 06:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In reply to estrema's question: "why can art not be about provoking a feeling or emotion?" I'll say of course art can be about provoking feeling or emotion. Using art skills like watercolours, oils, line drawings or assorted engraving techniques artists through many centuries have done just that, and the possibilities for doing it now and in the future have not been exhausted. It doesn't take skill to place a cage or two in a room in an art gallery and place dogs in them. A dog owner could have done the same - except the gallery owners restrict exhibition privileges to people with fine art degrees and diplomas who have registered themselves somewhere as artists. estrema or I could march along O'Connell carrying scrawled placards shouting Feck the Bankers and nobody would call it art just because we're trying to provoke feelings of outrage against the corrupt banks.

In one of his last poems Yeats advised: Irish poets learn your trade. The same advice could be offered to artists.

author by K9publication date Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Aesthete- so you think Josef Beuys wasn't an artist at all then?

"I Like America and America Likes Me 1974

Beuys’s most famous Action took place in May 1974, when he spent three days in a room with a coyote. After flying into New York, he was swathed in felt and loaded into an ambulance, then driven to the gallery where the Action took place, without having once touched American soil. As Beuys later explained: ‘I wanted to isolate myself, insulate myself, see nothing of America other than the coyote.’ The title of the work is filled with irony. Beuys opposed American military actions in Vietnam, and his work as an artist was a challenge to the hegemony of American art."

The argument about artists having to show off their craftsmanship is over. The conceptualists won.

Whether torturing dogs should be allowed in the name of art is another matter though.

author by aesthetepublication date Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll describe Beuyes' Action as just that - an action. If I marched along O'Connell Street with a scrawled placard shouting Feck the Bankers I'd describe it as an action too, but I betcha the director would have me ejected from the hallowed premises if I tried doing the same Action in an art gallery.

Getting back to the caged dogs in that art gallery, I consider it wrong not to provide them with bedding. I hope they pee on the floor in protest - and I'll call it a Canine Action.

author by estremapublication date Tue Feb 24, 2009 14:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the thing is lauren that the dogs were scheduled to be put down before the show. so when the artist put them in his show he actually prolonged their lives. the pound has no space for the dogs so they have to be put down.

he gave them an extra week to live. he did not in fact take the week away from them. there IS a difference.

im not sure about the facts of the matter concerning a person taking the dogs home and saving them. i would have to check the facts before i say anything about that matter.

author by k9publication date Tue Feb 24, 2009 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Even dogs living on borrowed time deserve a few bits of straw and a toy to play with, and maybe they could be in the same pen, since dogs are social animals.

author by indo readerpublication date Wed Feb 25, 2009 13:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Ian O'Doherty must spend all day looking at indymedia.e . It seems to be the source for a lot of his stories. Here's today's effort:


What point is 'artist' Seamus Nolan trying to make with his exhibition If Art Could Save Your Life in the Droichead Arts Centre in Drogheda?

The show features two rescue dogs from the local pound being placed in a cage from 10am to 5pm and starts today, running until March 20.

Well, if he's trying to make the point that he's nothing but a jerk who is happy to exploit two already traumatised dogs merely to impress his pseudo friends, then he has succeeded admirably.

The Droichead phone number is 041 9833946 -- why not give them a bell and tell them how much you admire them for abusing defenceless dogs?

Related Link: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/ian-odoherty/just-another-day-in-paradise-1651881.html
author by arty-Epublication date Wed Feb 25, 2009 13:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Recent expo from Seamus; Pitstop Ploughshares Hammers Exhibit at Project Gallery, Temple Bar, Dublin ( http://www.indymedia.ie/article/89876 ) caused a big fuss in Dublin, so much so that a large part of Joe Duffys "liveline" show on RTE talked about the piece, listen directly below.

Past projects
Project arts centre was previously home for an earlier "art" exhibition entitled "communism", which seamus nolan set up a bike workshop:
UBE-urban bicycle exchange- COMMUNISM exhibition- project

and after Seamus went on to be involved with another "art" event or exhibtion (however one labels it) in Ballymun: Hotel Ballymun - Uplifting Art or Poverty Tourism?

Embedded audio: http://www.rte.ie/podcasts/2008/pc/pod-v-251108-28m17s-liveline.mp3

author by dog loverpublication date Wed Feb 25, 2009 22:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It would not be illegal for the artist to shoot these dogs, but that's not the point. They deserve better treatment than being locked up all day and stared at in a cage. Its disgusting and the gallery and the artist should be ashamed.

author by Bernie Wright - Alliance for Animal Rights AFARpublication date Thu Feb 26, 2009 09:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Update on cruel dog art exhibition in Drogheda Arts Centre
'Its inherently wrong to try make the point that animals are or arn't property or inanimate objects whilst risking their lives and subjecting them to the stress and degradation of a display!'

We have received word that one of the dogs held by the Louth Dog Pound for this exhibition has in fact now been rehomed . Having been held back from being re-homed , as he had been previously offered a permanent home . The offer of a home was declined by the pound because of his use in this display over for the last few weeks.(he had remained in the pound waiting to be put on show with the other dog).This risked his chances of ever getting a second chance at life.
This is a change in policy from the Pound who insisted that the dogs could not be given out till this Art-stunt ended.
Also we have been told today from the pound that the person who has offered a home will bring the dog to the Drogheda centre to be used as planned in the display. We are saddened to hear this as it is hard enough for a new dog to settle in a home situation without this confusing arrangement as well.

This is not satisfactory neither is it AFARs ideal outcome but a minimal step as a result of the pressure on those involved.
Thankfully one dog will not die as a result of being held for this, we remain concerned about the other dog, we still remain totally opposed to the use of these innocent animals for so-called art.

Maybe Seamus Nolans next stunt will be to put himself on display for the public to gawk at.? At least he would have that choice, the animals do not!.

Taxpayers money is paying for this type of sad behavior in the form of Arts Council grants.Seamus Nolan receives one. Similar to grants given to Circuses with animals ,animals have the right not to be used for spectacle or display.

Bernie Wright.AFAR.


author by Svobodapublication date Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"In one of his last poems Yeats advised: Irish poets learn your trade. The same advice could be offered to artists."

As long as they have the right tools, and they remember that the Artist in the Engineer of the Human Soul.

author by IARA - iarapublication date Fri Feb 27, 2009 23:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To all of the above and anyone else with concern about dogs in this exhibition.
We got one of our members in the area to view and asess the situation with whice the dogs are in.The report back does not match the gallery website picture as they have bedding, water and toys and both are playfull and in good form. One of the dogs has been rehomed allready and another put in its place. The dogs are in better circumstances than any Animal Shelter can offer and stand to get a home quicker now that there is so much coverage about it.
Anything that shows awareness to what animals have to live is a good thing as long as there is no distress to the animal. If it is Art or not is not for us to say, but look around and see how much coverage this has giving animal rights in your country. It made people that just want to talk about if it is Art or not open their mind a bit and look at what is realy going on for poor animals that get throwing out on the street.
Do not reply to this email as if you feel you need to do something to help what is going on in Ireland go to a pound and rehome a pet for life. Do not get a dog from a shop, they will just stock up from a farm and more dogs will go to the shelters, and it starts all over again.
J. M. Lapen

author by kninepublication date Sat Feb 28, 2009 01:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What is IARA? Is it an animal rights organisation? If so, why does it not object to live animals being used as entertainment? Are circuses okay too?

author by Donatellopublication date Sat Feb 28, 2009 06:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a tricky one to define art nowadays. Everything is relative. One man's meat is another man's poison as the proverb goes. Shakespeare said that "the crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark when neither is attended," which is a useful thing to bear in mind when trying to listen to things like the atonal, serial and synthetic electronic music that has succeeded 19th century classical music. Anyway, for those who want to ponder, here's a short historical look at various attempts to define art, bringing it up to that amorphous philosophy called postmodernism. (According to a recent Irish Times article by art critic Aidan Dunne postmodernism has now played itself out.)


In recent years two definitions I have read are:
(a) Art is anything you can get away with. (Andy Warhol)
(b) Art is anything which they accept for exhibition in an art gallery or offer for sale at art auctions. (an Irish writer said that, I think)

These two definitions seem to cover everything including the bemusement, scepticism and cynicism among members of the general public arising from the relativisation of aesthetics in the twentieth century.

Another feature of twentieth century gallery shows has been the occasional hosting of anti-art, intended by their creators to make points about targeted art forms and styles and about perceived injustices in the world.

But whether the exhibition of two dogs in a cage in a Drogheda art gallery constitutes art or not, one satisfactory outcome so far is that one of the homeless dogs has been found a home and with enough publicity the other one will soon be taken care of too.

author by Laura Broxson - National Animal Rights Associationpublication date Wed Mar 04, 2009 14:15author email naracampaigns at gmail dot comauthor address PO Box 11019, Dublin 2author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi everyone,

This morning, the entire town centre of Drogheda was leafleted, with the special flyers we had made about this disgraceful exhibition (with many shops in agreement and eager to take bundles!).

Before leaving, I went into the Arts Centre to check on the dogs - and they were gone! After speaking with the management, it was confirmed to me that the dogs had been rehomed, and that they wouldn't be replacing them or taking in anymore. They said that the pens etc will remain there for display, and that if anyone expresses an interest in homing a dog, they will be referring them to Louth Dog Pound. SUCCESS!

The National Animal Rights Association would like to thank everyone who took part in this campaign, especially Justine, who put so much time and energy into fighting for their freedom.

Well done to all involved, we won!

Laura Broxson

National Animal Rights Association

Related Link: http://www.naracampaigns.org
author by Keith Harris - newsmedianewspublication date Wed Mar 04, 2009 18:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fair play to all involved in bringing this to an end and also to the arts centre management.

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