ASPEN, Colo.— The Center for Biological Diversity today delivered petitions signed by more than 12,000 people calling on the Aspen Art Museum to cancel a controversial exhibit by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang featuring three African sulcata tortoises, each with a pair of iPads stuck directly to its massive shell.
“The Aspen Art Museum should know better,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director at the Center. “This is less provocative than it is just plain exploitative and cruel. It crosses the line and needs to be stopped.”
A nationwide boycott of the museum was launched earlier this month following publicity about the exhibit, which will run until early October. The African tortoises used by the artist are designated as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and listed on the Conventional on International Trade in Endangered Species.
“The treatment of these tortoises in Aspen is being driven by the same kind of thoughtless self-interest that drives wildlife exploitation around the world and ultimately pushes many animals toward extinction,” Suckling said.
Today’s petitions call on the Aspen Art Museum to immediately close the exhibit.