Damien Hirst’s artwork exhibit that kills flies criticised by PETA and removed

A Hundred Years is a well-known artwork by Damien Hirst which, as it happens, was loved by Francis Bacon, another very well-known artist. It consists of two connecting glass chambers. In the first chamber is a box in which maggots hatch into flies. The flies past into the second chamber where they are attracted to the light emitted by an electrocuting device which kills them. And so, the artwork consists of the birth and the killing of flies.

Damien Hirst's artwork A Hundred Years has been removed in Germany
Damien Hirst’s artwork A Hundred Years has been removed in Germany. See photo for credit.

Damien Hirst is well known in creating art which turns on death. The artwork is currently on exhibit at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany.

PETA, the high-profile animal rights organisation, criticised it. They said: “Killing animals has nothing to do with art, it just shows the arrogance of people who literally will stop at nothing for their own interests.”

The artwork was also criticised by the city’s veterinary office. Both expressed opposition to the exhibit.

Subsequently, the artwork has been removed from display at the gallery.

Andreas Beitin, the gallery’s director told the German newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung that they were unaware that flies were covered by German’s animal welfare laws specifically the Animal Welfare Act.

He said that the work was meant to draw attention to the fact that insects die every night from public light.

The basis of the criticism is that the rights of insects have been infringed; an interesting concept and many people will be surprised to hear it. Many will object to that thought. They will ask whether it is possible for insects such as flies to have rights. There is also the question as to whether flies are animals.

Insects are animals I believe and flies can feel pain although we are not sure exactly how they interpret it. But on those two factors it is reasonable to suggest that flies should have rights and can be protected by laws governing animal welfare.

In 2017 it was estimated that Damien Hirst had killed roughly 1 million creatures with 912,005 being insects and butterflies in the name of art.

One of his most famous works is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. You may remember that it is a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde.

His One Hundred Years has been on show in an exhibition called Power! Light! at the gallery which explored the benefits and drawbacks of human innovation.

Hirst has become very rich on the back of his art. In 2020, he was in the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated fortune of £350 million.

P.S. Nowadays rather than kill flies I release them to the outside! And you know, the best way to get rid of flies inside the home is to open the patio doors wide. This lets them in but it also allows them to escape. If you want windows open to let in a breeze ensure that flies have the means to escape and they will fairly quickly. I think that this is a better system than putting grills over the windows. A personal thought.

Below are more articles on animal rights.

Gazan donkey

Israel bans the importation of donkeys into Gaza because they are abused there

NEWS AND COMMENT: The Washington Post reports that Israel has banned the importation of the much-needed donkeys into Gaza because ...
How we treat farm livestock

The delicious taste of bacon outweighs animal welfare

The photograph on Twitter X says it all: How we treat pigs. Image: Twitter X The comments to the image ...
Sir Ian Wilmut and Dolly the cloned sheep he created

The man who cloned a sheep said it would be criminally irresponsible to clone a human

Sir Ian Wilmut and Dolly the Sheep. Image: PA. The man who cloned a sheep is Prof Sir Ian Wilmut ...
60% human kidneys grown inside pigs

Kidneys that are 60% human grown inside pigs

Kidneys that are 60% human grown inside pigs. Image: MikeB. NEWS AND VIEWS: Scientists in China have been able to ...
Greta Thunberg

Unlike politicians Greta Thunberg walks the walk on climate change

"Don't talk the talk unless you can walk the walk" is the well-used phrase. For the sake of clarity is ...
Growing antlers on mice in China in animal experiments

Chinese researchers are growing deer antlers on mice as a model for studying organ regeneration

I was notified of this by Twitter. Thanks Twitter; although I'm now bombarded with unsettling and upsetting examples of the ...
Cat seeing themselves in a mirror and is unsure what is going on

Animal self-consciousness a.k.a. self-awareness should not be assessed by comparison to humans

Animal consciousness or animal self-consciousness (the same thing using a different description) is very complicated and it is an area ...
Security guards enjoying the moment

Culture change in China desired as indicated by support of fan’s football pitch invasion

An 18-year-old football fan who idolises Lionel Messi, the world's most famous and perhaps most talented footballer and an Argentinian ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.