Famous Art Featuring Flies Removed From Museum After PETA Complained It Broke Animal Welfare Act

Dominic Smithers

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Famous Art Featuring Flies Removed From Museum After PETA Complained It Broke Animal Welfare Act

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg

One of Damien Hirst's most iconic pieces of art has been removed from a museum following complaints from animal rights activists.

The British artist created 'A Thousand Years' back in 1990, receiving much critical acclaim at the time.

The piece consists of a large glass box split into two sections, with one side filled with flies and hatching maggots and another containing a UV light.

As the maggots turn into flies they a drawn towards the light and are killed, dropping to the floor.

Previous iterations of the work have included a rotting cow's head.

Most recently, it was on display at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany, however, it has now been removed following criticism from PETA.

The piece has been removed following complaints from PETA. Credit: Alamy
The piece has been removed following complaints from PETA. Credit: Alamy

The campaign group took issue with the artwork, claiming it was a clear example of animal cruelty.

A spokesperson for PETA 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."

Responding to the criticism, museum director Andreas Beitin said: "We thought that flies didn’t come under the Animal Welfare Act."

Otmar Böhmer, the managing director of the Kunstmuseum, added: "We share the basic idea of the animal protection organisation that animals are not there to entertain us or that we exploit them."

Discussing the concept behind the work previously, Hirst said it was about life and death.

He said: "I’ve always had a thing about glass. I had a magic mushroom experience very early on where I got a bit freaked out about being symmetrical.

Damien Hirst created the piece back in 1990. Credit: Alamy
Damien Hirst created the piece back in 1990. Credit: Alamy

"I imagined I had a sheet of glass running right through me. Glass became quite frightening. I think glass is quite a frightening substance. I always try and use it.

"I love going round aquariums, where you get a jumping refraction so that the things inside the tank move; glass becomes something that holds you back and lets you in at the same time.

"It’s an amazing material; it’s something solid yet ephemeral. It’s dangerous as well."

Adding: "The fear of death is the strongest emotion, so as an artist when you start thinking about these things you end up thinking about that kind of darkness.

"It’s about how you can cushion yourself from death in some way."

UNILAD has contacted Damien Hirst for a comment.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Topics: News, UK News, Art, Germany

Dominic Smithers
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