More news on "artist" who starved dog as installation piece

Kitty Diggins's picture

From AMPer Kitty Diggins:

There is now a petition to try to have Guillermo Vargas Habacuc removed from the Biennial of Central America.

For those of you who are not familiar with the story, Vargas is an artist in Costa Rica who found an ailing dog on the street and tied him up in a gallery as an installation piece as onlookers watched the dog die. He did not allow anyone to feed it, but rather placed dog food out of the dog's reach so that it could not get to the food. Here's a link to my previous blog on the situation.

He has been accepted into the very prestigious Biennial of Central America and has been asked to RECREATE THE INSTALLATION.

At this point, I think it is the art council which needs to be stopped rather than the artist.

For what it's worth, click here for a link to the petition.

Please sign it and email it to everyone you know and post it as many places as you can.


poempainter's picture

he's not repeating the dog starvation horror...

check this site:

And...from another blog site:
Blogger Fer said...

There is actually a whole lot of misinformation. I've tried to clear it up a bit:
1. The exposition of the starving dog took place at Galeria Códice (, Managua (Nicaragua), 16.Aug.2007.
2. Bienarte is the Bienal Costaricense de Artes Visuales (Costarican Biennial of Visual Arts), hold on 13.sep.2007-27.oct.2007 at the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José (Costa Rica). As far as I understand, this exposition takes place once every two years in Costa Rica. Guillermo Vargas participated with a diptych: "Jony leyendo y explicando" (Jony reading and explaining) and "Pancartas" (Banners). He and other 5 participants were elected to participate in:
3. VI Bienal de Artes Visuales del Istmo Centroamericano. This event takes place (once every two years?) in different countries of Central America. Its 6th version is going to take place in the city of San Miguel de Tegucigalpa, Honduras (nov.2008 - feb.2009). As far as I understand, Vargas should participate with the same "diptych" that he showed at Bienarte 2007.
4/17/2008 11:09:00 AM

do some digging and you will find more. The web is a tricky medium!

Eban's picture

This is not a hoax...

To those who think this is art...

This indicates that animal abuse did occur (quote from WSPA enclosed with website citation - see below). There is no excuse to torture another living creature and call it art. It is cruelty, plain and simple.

Art should push the limits and good art will generate a response (running the gamut from joy and exaltation to revulsion and abhorrence) from people who are exposed to it. However, the line must be drawn at harming another creature...

(Note: if you want to harm or mutilate yourself (like Chris Burden did - link below), that may be open for discussion - as long as you don't place a burden (ha ha) on pay for your aftercare, etc.)



In 2007, artist Guillermo Vargas showed an emaciated live dog in a Nicaraguan gallery. Despite public outcry, the country's lack of animal welfare laws meant he faced no consequences. This year, when Vargas was invited to compete in an art show in Honduras, WSPA and member society the Honduras Association for the Protection of Animals and their Environment (AHPRA) acted to ensure this cruelty could not be repeated by any artist.

Elly Hiby, WSPA's Head of Companion Animals, commented: “Information regarding the treatment and fate of the dog used in the 2007 exhibition is inconsistent, but for WSPA – irrespective of the exact outcome – chaining a dog without food or water for public entertainment is a reprehensible abuse”. Our attempts to discuss the matter with Vargas' representative were met with silence.

>Chris Burden

pixelform's picture

Don't you think?

Strange how this artist should start such an uproar. Regardless of whether or not it is true, this piece seems very important and should not be censored on the very grounds that it is extremely challenging to our sense of ethics. If we take the perspective of the suffering dog, we see the roles of institutional power pressing a life into a situation of exploitation for personal gain. That his work should be rallied against so vehemently by the AMP community while the corporate robber barons of the world continue unopposed to starve out those who are unfortunate enough to be forced into serving their interests is ironic. Don't even for a second doubt that rising food prices world wide are a result of a desire to increase capital for a handful of wealthy individuals. If the reports of this piece and this artists work have been false, fictitious, or otherwise fabricated, I believe that the brilliance of the work may run even deeper since it then opens itself up to issues of internet facilitated misinformation, by underscoring our inability to obtain hard facts in a world of ephemeral, abstract, and obfuscated media half-truths.

AMP's picture


I fail to see the brilliance in this "work". Any way that this situation can be analytically assessed is, in my opinion, overshadowed by the pain of a living creature that died as a spectacle.

As for the AMP community rallying, I don't think that a handful of comments constitutes a rallying. Thousands of people ARE viewing Kitty's original post, though I can only guess at what is being done following the reading.

As an academic, obviously I respect the value of dispassionate analysis - but I do not believe that dispassionate analysis is, in ANY case, more valuable than the life of ANY creature. Where are YOUR priorities?

Terri L. Anderson
Executive Director, AMP

AMP: Artists' Meeting Place & Resource Collective

juiceboyy's picture

It's a hoax

I know this story. It's not true. He's a good, interesting artist and should be supported in his work :)