Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Can Animals Be Art? Meet Venice's Painted Pigeons

Two artists air brushed a bunch of pigeons (with apparently non-harmful paints) and released the colorful creations in St. Mark’s Square.

  • 01 /14
  • 02 /14
  • 03 /14
  • 04 /14
  • 05 /14
  • 06 /14
  • 07 /14
  • 08 /14
  • 09 /14
  • 10 /14
  • 11 /14
  • 12 /14
  • 13 /14
  • 14 /14

Urbanites—Venetians in particular—know pigeons as omnipresent pests. But this week, festival-goers in Venice saw the city birds as bright and bold works of art.

This year, at the Venice Biennale, Swiss artist Julian Charriere and German-born Julius von Bismarck, who was the first artist in residence at CERN, executed a project called (in a nod to Orwell) "Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others" whereby they spray-painted pigeons and released them in the city.

The pigeons were made-over using a conveyor belt-like mechanism that the artists first tested on a rooftop in Copenhagen. Turquoise, fuchsia, and other intense tones were spotted around St. Mark’s Square this week, replacing the familiar gray coloration of these well-known residents of Venice and cities everywhere.

Charriere told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that the spray-painting was employed "without any danger to the animals."

Maybe so, but though undeniably interesting, the exhibit walks an uneasy ethical line. What do you think? Are animals a suitable canvas?