The Italian animal rights group 100% Animalisti protest artist Damien Hirst's upcoming exhibition by dumping manure outside the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, one of the venues hosting the show. Photo: 100% Animalisti

Animal Rights Activists Target Damien Hirst’s Venice Exhibition

Activists angered over Damien Hirst’s use of animals in his works have dumped eighty-eight pounds of manure outside the entrance of Palazzo Grassi—one of two locations hosting the artist’s upcoming exhibition in Venice.

During the night on March 6, 100% Animalisti—an Italian animal rights advocacy group—loaded a boat with bags of manure taken from a sanctuary for rescued horses and donkeys and emptied them in front of the contemporary art museum. It also unrolled a white banner that reads: “Damien Hirst Go Home! Beccati Questa Opera D’arte! 100% Animalisti.”

In a statement on its website, the group calls Hirst a “fake artist” and said that Hirst, along with artists Hermann Nitsch and Maurizio Cattelan, have built “their ephemeral fortunes on the use of animals, stuffed, quartered, often killed, for the occasion.”

The British artist has previously come under fire for allegedly killing 9,000 butterflies for an exhibition at the Tate Modern in 2012 as well as for using a tiger shark that was fished from the ocean specifically for his piece The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991.

Opening on April 9, “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” will mark the first time that the Pinault Collection’s two locations—the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana—will be dedicated to a single artist.