Art projects that use animals, living or dead:
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Joseph Beuys, I Like America and America Likes Me (1974)

  • Nicholas Negroponte, SEEK (1969-70): A project at MIT in which the artist programmed a robotic arm to move crates in an environment inhabited by gerbils who occasionally rearranged the crates. The arm was designed to adapt to the chages the gerbils made.
  • Robert Gligorov, Dollar Note (2006-07): Piano, glass birdhouse, canaries, feed.
  • Joseph Beuys, I Like America and America Likes Me (1974): The artist locked himself in a cell with a wild coyote for three days. They cohabited the same space, slept and ate together. Eventually the coyote adapted its behavior and tolerated the artist.
  • Joseph Beuys, how to explain pictures to a dead hare (1965): a cryptic, shamanistic performance in which the artist cradled a dead hare and whispered soothing messages to it.
  • Eduardo Kac, Alba/GFP Bunny/GFP Bunny (2000): The "Bio-artist" spliced jellyfish DNA with a rabbit so that the rabbit's fur had a pigment that glowed fluorescent green under UV light rays.
  • Banksy, Elephant In the Room (2006): Graffiti artist Banksy painted an elephant red and gold in a pattern to blend in with the wallpaper design in the background installation. The work was met with controversy from animal rights activists. It appears in the 2010 documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop.
  • Wim Delvoye, Tattooed Pigs (2000): The Belgian artist bought pigs from Chinese farms and tattooed designs with skulls and Disney characters on them. As part of the contract, the pigs were to be taken care of and when they die, they would be skinned and their tattoos would display on gallery walls. Delvoye did similar contractual "body art" tattoos with humans as well.
  • Atelier Van Lieshout, Foodmaster (2009): Though the work does not use living or dead animals, it is themed around the meat industry, particularily MVRDV's dystopian Pig City project.
  • José Antonio Hernández-Diez, San Guinefort (1991): The artist displayed a taxidermy sleeping dog in a veterinarian's sleeping cas chamber.
  • Guillermo Vargas, Exposición N° 1(2007): perhaps the most controversial works of art using animal creulty for aesthetic purposes, the artist tied a stray dog to the gallery wall to stay until it starved to death.
  • Adel Abdessemed, Usine (2009): This video is the most controversial of the Algerian-French artist's videos displaying animals of various species, including cats, mice, dogs, roosters, lions, scorpions, toads, etc., fighting with each other. His exhibition was shut down early at the San Francisco Art Institute after recieving backlash.
  • Tom Otterness, Shot Dog Film (1977): The artist adopted a dog and filmed himself shooting it, and displayed the film in an infinite loop. Though the project did not recieve as much public attention as other controversial art projects involving animal cruelty, it was dismissed by many critics

    Ottmar Hörl, Cow Project (1985)

    as distasteful and exploitative.
  • Kim Jones, Rat Piece (1976): The artist doused rats in lighter fluid and lit them on fire. The project sparked controversy in and led to the dismissal of the gallery owner and the court hearing of the artist.
  • Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991): The most famous of Hirst's series of displaying dead animals in formaldehyde as art objects.
  • Mark Thompson, A house divided (1989): The artist displayed his head in a tank of honeybees as a metaphor for the division of east and west Berlin (for more on insects in art).
  • Cai Guo-Qiang, Head On (2006): Installation consisting of 99 life-size replicas of wolves.
  • Fiona Larkin, Do You Love Me Now (2011): Documentation of a cat.
  • Doug Aitkin, Migration (2009): The artist filmed several different animals inside hotel rooms.
  • William Wegman, Lolita (1990): The artist does nothing but take satirical portraits of his Weimaraners, who seem to be pretty good sports about it, judging from some of the poses he makes them do.
  • Nadine Rüfenacht, Nature morte, Der weisse Mythos (2005): A photographer who does several living and dead animals such as this dead horse. Some of his photos really remind me of the Dutch painter Melchior d'Hondecoeter's menagerie paintings.
  • Ottmar Hörl, Cow Project (1985), close up: The project turns the scenery of grazing cows in a pastoral European countryside into encased static art objects, how one percieves a bucolic landscape.
  • Xu Bing, A Case Study of Transference (1994): Project where the artist painted text on the skins of pigs, similar to Wim Delvoye's project.

    Pilar Albarracín, She-wolf (2006)

  • Pascal Bernier, Hunting Accident - Deer (1996)
  • Thomas Grünfeld, Misfit (St.Bernard/Sheep) (1994)
  • Joan Fontcuberta & Pere Formiguera, Felix Penatus (1987)
  • Charles Avery, Untitled (Noumenon)(2008)
  • Garnet Hertz, Experiments in Galvanism (2003/2004)
  • Savage, Back to the flock (2003)
  • Damien Hirst, I Want You Because I Can’t Have You (1992)
  • Annette Messager, Le Repos des Pensionnaires (1971-72)
  • Bertozzi & Casoni, Electric Chair with Butterflies (2010)

    Carsten Höller, Soma (at Hamburger Bahnhof 2010)

  • Pilar Albarracín, She-wolf (2006)
  • Marcel Broodthaers, Don’t Say I Didn’t Say So—The Parrot (1974)
  • Mark Wallinger, A Real Work of Art (1995)
  • Kim MyeongBeom, Untitled (Taxidermy Tree) (2008)
  • Pilar Albarracín, Asnería (Donkey) (2010)
  • Carsten Höller, Soma (at Hamburger Bahnhof 2010)
  • Daniel & Geo Fuchs, Conserving: Hammerkopf-Flughund (1998), Polar Bears (1998)
  • Yukinori Yanagi, Wandering Position (detail) (1998)
  • Koen Vanmechelen, The Cosmopolitan Chicken (2000)
  • Nina Katchadourian, Chloe (1994)
  • Adam Parker Smith, Cage (2011)
  • Timm Ulrichs, Wolf im Schafspelz – Schaf im Wolfspelz (Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - Sheep in Wolf's Clothing) (2005/10)
  • Werner Reiterer, Beginnings of Space Travel (2002)
  • Huang Yong Ping, Nightmare of George V (2002)
  • Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram (1955-9)
  • Hubert Duprat, Trichoptère (1980/200 - ongoing series): Caddis fly larvae interacting with precious materials such as goldleaf and turquois to create sculptural forms that resemble organic jewelry.
  • Thornton Dial, Lost Cows (2000–1): an assemblage made from cow bones painted white, steel, golf bag, golf ball, mirrors, enamel, and Splash Zone compound
  • Mark Pauline (of Survival Research Laboratories), Machine Sex (1979 performance): the first Survival Research Laboratory performance which "was staged at a gas station in North Beach shortly after OPEC price rise," Pauline narrates, "I had build a de-manufacturing machine that was like a giant food processor, called 'The Shredder.' It was made out of a triangular-shaped drum, with a clear Plexiglass dome over it, with a conveyor belt you could tie objects to, leading into it. So, I tied on a bunch of dead pidgeons and dressed them up in little paper Arab doll costumes. Then I activated the machine, and fed the pidgeons through, where they were chopped up by a succession of very sharp blades. After that, their remains were ejected out the sides--blown about ten feet--so the audience got hit with gobs of feather, blood, guts, and bone." - from Bill Edmondson, "Survival Research Laboratories: More Dead Animal Jokes, An Interview with Mark Pauline," East Village Eye 6, no. 55 (June 1985): 35.
  • Freecell and Gia Wolff, Cat Habitat (2013): habitat for cats.
  • Anri Sala, No Bargain No Cry (2002)
  • Art Orienté objet (Marion Laval-Jeantet & Benoît Mangin), Que le cheval vive en moi (2011)
  • Miya Masaoka, Ritual With Giant Hissing Madagascar Cockroaches (2002)