A Chinese artist who grafted the head of a human fetus onto the body of a bird has defended his work as art after a Swiss museum withdrew the piece from an exhibit.Well, I hope the the artists, philosophers and ethics experts can figure this one out. I wonder which of the three -- artists, philosophers or ethics experts -- will have the strongest objection and which will be most supportive of Xiao. And while you've got those artists, philosophers and ethics experts assembled, please ask them about the sewn-together mice.
"It's precisely because I respect all life that I did this," artist Xiao Yu said Tuesday. He said the bird and fetus "died because there was something wrong with them. ... I thought putting them together like this was a way for them to have another life."
Swiss museum visitor Adrien de Riedmatten, 29, filed a complaint on Monday with the district attorney of Bern, Switzerland, calling for an investigation into the piece, which was on display at the Bern Art Museum....
The work was removed, curator Bernhard Fibicher said Tuesday, because museum directors didn't want the controversy surrounding it to overshadow the rest of the "Mahjong" exhibit, which features avant-garde Chinese works from the last 25 years. The museum is planning an Aug. 22 symposium with artists, philosophers and ethics experts before deciding whether to re-exhibit the piece.
Xiao said he bought the head in 1999 for a few dollars from a man who was cleaning out a scientific exhibition hall. The glass bottle in which it came had a handwritten sticker identifying it as a female specimen from the 1960s. According to Xiao, it had no name or cause of death....
The name of the piece, "Ruan," is a word Xiao invented that combines the Chinese characters for different kinds of animals. Xiao said he added the eyes of a rabbit to the head.
Xiao is known for shocking material. He once paid an assistant $1,200 to sew pairs of living lab mice together at the hip and displayed them in glass bowls.
Don't you understand art?
UPDATE: Creative taxidermy is more widespread than you may realize.