Artist Starves Dog to Death

April 17, 2008 · Print This Article

Sneaker blog SlamXHype blogged about this a few days ago.

“Last year, Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, in the name of art, took a dog from the street, and starved him to death. Endorsed by the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American, Habacuc has been invited to repeat this unbelievably cruel act again in 2008. We at SlamXhype stand with Arkitip Intelligence in boycotting this ‘artist’ and urge you to sign this petition to end this right now.”

83 Responses to “Artist Starves Dog to Death”

  1. this is horrible and disgusting

  2. Tony Fitzpatrick Says:

    Coyle– I’m sure the theory-geeks will have a ready dollop of sophistry to excuse starving an animal to death…. My own rule is , once your ‘process’ involves killing something it stops being art.

    Sometimes … one despairs of the species

  3. this man is cruel and disgusting // this is not art this is animal cruelty /// and the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American should be ashamed of themselves // he should be tied up in a gallery and starvrdto death for the sake of art see how much he likes it //

  4. Fucking disgusting.


  6. Ashley do you mean Mark is Disgusting? Because gross would be fair… but disgusting is hitting below the belt.

    The artist gives us all the creeps.

  7. Michael Workman Says:

    From what I’ve read, there seems to be some obfuscation as to whether this story is true or not, beyond the artist having brought a dog already starved from living as a stray into a gallery. Any reliable news sources actually confirm anything more than that, i.e., that the artist did verifiably act to starve the animal? I’ve not seen a shred of evidence in the few pieces of news I’ve read and am curious to know what really happened.

  8. yeah i’ve been checking out this story and there does seem to be some confusion as to the facts. theres a bit about this on artnet that seems to deny his inclusion in the biennial and gives a different account of what actually happened to the dog. some reports state that he tied the starving dog up for the opening but then fed him afterwards….either way, it still seems cruel and wrong.

  9. Michael Workman Says:

    I think Brandl is just mildly revolting, but then I personally am outrageously repugnant to gaze upon, so who am I to criticize?

  10. Many things along with sick behavior are being called “art”. Habacuc endorced by the VAB of Central America are revealing their lack of consciousness and awareness. These kinds of acts are very disparaging to “real artists”. Dictionary; “artist, a person who uses deliberate skill in making things of beauty, esp. a painter, a person who uses skill and taste in any activity”. These people are using the title “artist” incognito…their real purpose is to pull society lower than most of us can conceive. So now is society expected to consider all atrocities in history, war and self proclaimed authority (religious or secular) as excusable or desirable because it was or is “Art”?

  11. Rita Guill Says:

    This is nothing more than animal cruelty, he should be jailed with the full force of the law against him. It should be stopped!

  12. sign the petition!

  13. I saw it today and made sure to post it on Buffalo’s cl – this is just beyond ignorant –

  14. But maybe the artist is “testing” his audience, forcing an issue out there to be addressed? I don’t see the beauty or necessity in suffering. So I doubt this was his intent. Who is this “artist” anyway? No one could save this dog?

  15. can’t someone just buy the dog?

  16. Not very intriguing as an art piece. It’s an unfortunate and vain attempt for the artist to get attention. Extremely cruel and unfair to the animal.

    But why are people writing that the artist should be tied up and left to starve? What sort of solution is that?

  17. That is fucking disgusting!! I don’t care if he did have the dog tied til after the art show. He could have still giving it some fuckin water and then givin him food. That pig and all of the spectators in the gallery need to be tied in a corner and starved to death. They don’t even deserve jail time. Then we would have to pay for there food!!!

  18. That artist needs to know what it feels like..Then maybe he will think twice about doing it again. Then again if he got the same treatment then he would never be able to do that again….

  19. This reminds me of the viral ad for the Ford Sport Ka that was on the web a few years ago where a cat was decapitated by the sunroof of the car. The ad was created by Ogilvy & Mather for Ford Motor Co. UK.

    To add insult to injury, Ford only apologized for it being leaked onto the internet and not for doing it in the first place.

    They were trying to show that their 3-cylinder shitbox was a badass.

    May the vile people involved in these incidents choke to death on their own blood.

  20. Who cares if the facts aren’t all crystal clear? Even if the dog was already starving, why not take it in and feed it, instead of putting its suffering on display for no good reason? This ‘artist’ should be tied in a corner and starved. What would that solve? One more person who is cruel to animals would be gone. In order to be that callous and cruel to such a helpless animal, a person would have to be cruel in every aspect of their life. What would the world say if he found a starving child and tied IT up to die? I’m sure there would be consequences then. But what’s scary is that this person probably wouldn’t see anything wrong with it. It would just be for the sake of ‘art’.

    And as for allowing, no ENCOURAGING, him to do it again, and gain even more publicity and fame? Sickening. What has the world come to when we have no options left for entertainment and enlightenment but viewing the suffering and pain of a helpless creature? Art? I think not. Sounds more like a ploy to get attention from a sick, evil person. Not to mention the money it must bring in for the art show itself. A wonderful world we live in. If there were fewer people like this Guillermo Vargas in the world, we would all live better lives.

    Please sign the petition. And do anything you can to help an animal. We have the means to help ourselves. They depend on us.

  21. Kendall MacKenzie Says:

    I am appalled and heartbroken that a fellow human being could have stood by and watched this poor animal die! The thing that separates us from animals is our humanity! This “artist” proves that this unloved, unwanted animal is more noble, more humble and more deserving of care and attention than some humans! If he was a real artist he might try to recreate this animals suffering on canvas but instead has taken neglect and called it his art. He’s a fraud! I could take a tree into a gallery and take credit for the change of the seasons!

  22. We should not stop just at signing the online petition. We have to make sure that the relevant authorities & humane societies are made aware of this. Public should actually boycott this event, write to the organizers & report this “act” as a case of animal abuse. The “artist”, organizers & the establishment of where this event is going to be held should be handled & dealt by the authorities making sure that any animal abuse acts are not committed in accordance to their law.

  23. Sarah Smith Says:

    According to the petition, the dog died the day after the photos were taken. In my opinion, this de-humanises Vargas, the promoters, and the puzzled onlookers.

  24. tony fitzpatrick Says:

    Sarah– when you think about the number of people who could’ve stepped in and fed the dog , the cruelty of this becomes exponentially more sad.

  25. It’s funny how a shot can transcend it’s context in a really profound way. There’s a picture from what appears to be the opening – it’s take from dog-level, and the poor dog is just in agony. In the background the culture vultures are sipping wine and trying to get laid.

    Doesn’t this just typify everything wrong with the art world in particular, and Western culture in general? It’s even worse than the sycophantic vampires who would go to see people like Townes Van Zandt and Johnny Thunders in hopes that they’d see them get wasted.


  26. Guillermo Vargas Habacuc deserves the same end of his miserable life!
    Shame on You, Giullielmo!

  27. The bastards who run the ‘art’ gallery need their heads examined for allowing the ‘not’ artistic artist to run this ‘exhibit’ and for all the people viewing for not interveneing. Shame on All of them. Close the place down.

  28. It’s a hoax. The dog was tied up and fed on a regular basis, and then escaped. Just like the abortion artist at Yale. You can’t induce an abortion with “herbs.” It takes an invasive procedure or RU-486.

  29. Am I the only person who finds the name RU-486 hilarious?

    Are You For 86 (-ing the bambino)?

  30. Hoax — perhaps and perhaps not.

  31. Hoax — perhaps and perhaps not. Check this out:

  32. Hoax — perhaps, perhaps not. check this out:

  33. Beverly Hammond Says:

    Guillermo Vargas Habacuc AND the Visual Arts …. person who approved this as “art” should be prosecuted and sent to jail for animal cruelty!!! I think Habacuc, as others have said, should be put on exhibit also, and starved to death!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Sarah Jobe Says:

    Sorry to say but I don’t care what anyone thinks. This is a perfect example of how freaking stupid other countries are. No wonder they all drown in their own stupidity. What kind of human being could do something like this. I am sick and tired of these so called “artist” and their crappy work and sorry excuses for art. Starving a dog is not art, in fact its only one step away from being someone like Jeffery Dommer. Thats how he started (look it up.) but I won’t leave the idiots out who stood around and watched, you sick freaks. No wonder this world is filled with violence and cruelty, its because it filled with stupid people. I am a huge animal lover and I couldn’t imagine a person who would act like this. What kind of country would let something like that happen, they have no authority over their people (big surprise) Yeah, I said it.

  35. Does anyone have an email address for this ‘art’ gallery? I want to send them my own thoughts and let everyone have a chance to as well.

  36. Laszlo Kovassy Says:

    Some claim that the dog was already starved and it did not happen in the Art Gallery. That the dog was fed after the initial intruduction is nonsense, as the susequent photoes clearly show the dog’s gradual horrible deteriation. Those people, the artist, the gallery and the viewing public are worse than barbarians. No punishment meted out would be harsh enough. I can not forget those pitiful ,suffering, pleading eyes.

  37. Laszlo Kovassy Says:

    Checked some more websites. Habacus claims he only wanted to make a statement for people to see what happens to thousands of starving dogs on the streets of Puerto Rico. When he picked up the starving dog, he should have exhibited it on the opening day to show people what is going on, on the streets and than by feeding and rehabilitating the poor animal, to show what can be done.

  38. We have been given the priviledge of caring for God’s creatures. This vile act shows the depth to whhich mankind has fallen.

  39. Russell Maycumber Says:

    rats traded god
    dog ded art star

    What does this have to do with the price and lattes in China-?

  40. Kimberley Says:

    Can we not send this to Oprah? This may sound silly but it is cruelty such as this that needs to be recognized and she has the power to to enlighten alot of people.


  41. AL FUENTES Says:

    so this is art huh? why then not starve a child and watch it die? would that be art as well? this man is serously getting away with murdering a dog for the sake of art? another great example of our wonderful justice system and it’s many flaws… were a man can starve an animal for the sake of art even while there are laws set to punish those who mistreat/neglect animal. WOW!

  42. This was in another country. Was this the same country where they threw eighty dogs off a bridge to their death. it’s acceptable in certain cultures I suppose. There is also the puppy farms and dog fighting as well.

  43. Chris Carpenter Says:

    Does anyone know where the Visual Art Biennial of the Central American is located. I would like to set up a boycott of this countries products and try to put a dent in their tourist trade as well. Maybe they don’t care what American’s think, but if we can pull our dollars and let the country starve to death then maybe they will want to pay attention.

  44. Diane Harris Says:

    Please, let’s not be to hasty. I personally would like to invite the artist to dinner at my home, where he can explain his side of the story. I’m sure it’s very reasonable, i’m sure he has a valid and heartwarming story to share. And I for one am open minded enough to listen,,, before i push his ass down a flight of stairs and leave him there.

  45. Porque no se amarra ahora El, para asi poder ver su deterioro corporal, porque de su alma ya esta deteriorado este hijo de su puta madre!!!…junto con todos los de la pinche “Galeria de Arte”.

    Now Himself must to be tied, for let us see how is going to be his body deteriorated, because his soul is already deteriorated…everybody together, including the “Arts Gallery Staff”

  46. it is terrible. this man is cruel and should be stoped. instead of just placing comments here, we should take any action we can to put an end to this. we should for example write directrly to the place where this will be repeated ( because i heard the dog died ) and strongly complain about it. also we should write to the Government where these exhibition places are located and complain. there is much we could do and i urge you to do so. i will certainly not stop here. just think of what the poor dog went through.there ”people” should be made to experience what these tortured animal suffered. then they would not do it again.

  47. This is so sick it makes me want to go to this place and beat the crap out of this guy. im so sick from seeing this. how dare they. this need to be stoped fast. i look at my dog and think what if she was the one he did this too. it breaks my heart so bad. that mother F’er should die.

  48. Ginny Brown Says:

    What kind of hurt has been inflicted on this monster that he could totally disregard a life and think nothing of it. And if he hasn’t been hurt, that’s even worse. One day….

  49. can induce abortion with herbs….i believe this thread is an idiot hypocrite..i love that dog as much as anyone but i don’t really believe the premise…i hope all these crusaders are out feeding starving dogs etc..eating no flesh etc..

  50. So everybody has looked at the photo and the headline, become upset, signed the petition, blogged about it… and then had dinner. Don’t you feel righteous and fullfilled now that you’ve signed an online petition? Did it take much effort, or inconvenience you in any way?

    The “artist” is really pushing a moral issue in our faces and is perhaps disgusted that we’ll only be upset when a dog is starving in an exhibition, but an abandoned dog is only merely annoying when it’s running loose, and preferably in some else’s neighbourhood. Just my guess, but it’s reasonably accurate.

    Find out what the topic really is, before headlines jank your strings and your thoughts and immediate actions are determined by a story editor somewhere else in the world. Think for yourself, not what the headlines or every preceding blogger lays down for you.

  51. Lamentavel!!!!! Como um ser humano chegar ao ponto da perversidade sarcastica, e dizer que é arte?????? Será que essa criatura não teve mãe para ensina lo a respeitar a vida. Nunca teve um aninal de estimação para amar e respeitar? Esse cara nunca deve ter amado, mas com toda razão, quem poderia ama-lo?? Já que ele se mostra um monstro!!!!! Tenho pena desse sujeito, porque do homem ele pode figir , mas de DEUS NUNCA!!!!

  52. This dog is actually still alive, he did take him off the streets but he didn’t kill him! he did feed the dog. A lot of people “think” that he starved him but he didn’t, research it and you’ll know.

  53. Blah blah blah.

  54. BAS Has been starving Mark in a gallery for month, but I suspect Hudgens has been sneaking him food.

  55. If you saw my middle-aged belly you would know that starving I ain’t !

    There is a new “explanatrion” for this “piece” every twenty minutes — and new “assertions” about what did or did not happen by the artist and his backers as they come under pressure. Either way, it is NOT drawing attention to anything, it is EXPLOITING something — which is the sickest, typical, symptom of the current careerist artworld. Either as intent, or action, or “referencing” or whatever academic mannerist bullshit rhetoric it gets packed in, it is exploitational sick shit.

  56. Kerstin Undén Says:

    Horrible, how can this be allowed

  57. Stop this ever happening again.
    Truley disgusting! Hope he burns in hell!

  58. For my next art project I plan to tie Guillermo Vargas Habacus to a wall and starve him to death in order to “make a statement” about dog torture. What a sick and desperate man he must be..

  59. Someone should tie Guillermo Vargas Habacuc to a wall and starve him to death.
    in order to”make a statement” about cruelty. What a creep.

  60. How could people do this. It’s evil. these people desirve to have what they do to these animals done to them. It’s cruel and stupid. In other words. f— them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  62. Art is meant to create, never to destroy. There must be a lot more artists out there that we never knew about guys! They feature awesome artists like this right on cable t.v. Turn over to Animal Planet and watch the ASPCA at work. They hunt down these artists and send them to jail. :}

  63. Good lord people, do a little damn research. Type into Google “hoax + artist starves dog”

    Starving dog exhibit reported as a hoax

    The story of a dog being starved to death as part of an art exhibition appears to have been falsely reported by Costa Rican newspaper The Nation, according to new sources. I reported the appalling story here last week among global outrage about the exhibit and a reported invitation to repeat the work elsewhere.

    It has now emerged, however, that artist Guillermo Habacuc Vargas intended the work to be a stunt to show how a starving dog suddenly becomes the centre of attention when it is in a gallery, but not when it is on the street. The work was intended to expose people for what they really are – “hyprocritical sheep”. He said that in order for the work to be valid, he and the gallery had to give the impression that the dog was genuinely starving to death and that it died.

  64. That was his FIFTH explanation, if you research it you’ll see that he kept changing it as the nature of the outrage changed and grew. So “research yourself” and further.

    Plus whether the dog died or not in no way affects the criticism that it is no more than a cynical instrumentalization of cruelty; among other “sins,” it is an exceedingly typical ploy by “event” Neo-Con artists to get attention at all costs. It is disgusting no matter how many endings he can create to the tale.


    this is cruel, inhumane and SICK. i can’t believe people who viewed it didn’t just cut the rope and run off with it, i would had!

  66. John Wilks Says:

    This man should be murdered

  67. Fair enough, Mark, for sure, I just looked at one post.

    HOWEVER, whether that explanation is the truth or not, it sure rings true to me.

    I lived in a neighborhood where a poor family got a dog in lieu of a security system. The sweet puppy turned into a monster over two years of being mis-treated and freezing in the Chicago cold. A neighbor and I went in on an igloo doghouse for the poor thing and gave it to the family. It sat overturned in their yard. I called animal services, they issued a warning. People turn their back on suffering every day. People turn their back on cruelty and injustice every day. So when I see a lot of armchair-internet-lashing-out-but-doing-nothing outrage, it sort of ticks me off. OK, John Wilks, let’s go murder the guy. Good thinking. Now hit your favorites button and visit another site and do nothing about the injustic you see there.

    That’s all I’m saying. All this outrage over a dog when 10,000 people died of malnutrition today.

  68. I understand your point Kathryn, and it is what is often made in defense of illustrative cruelty, etc. But the problem is
    1) instrumentalization of suffering for career gain, which I think this reeks of more than illustrational agit-prop and
    2) what matters ethically is what you yourself do in your encounters in life. One is not freed from personal moral obligations just because somewhere else other people whom you do not control do vast horror. There have been several genocides in the last century. But I cannot kill off a race of other living beings like dogs, call it art, and be free of responsibility simply because I view it as an illustration or event symbolizing the holocaust or Ruanda or Armenia or whatever.

    What bothers me most beyond the failure of ethical logic is the clear weazeling for press by this man, and the wavering explanations which prove the sophistry of it all once the press wasn’t what he apparently wanted.

  69. morten olesen Says:

    if it is true and i got my hands on him, i would tie him and derprive the bastard of food till he was within inches of kicking the bucket….but i would be tempted to let him die

  70. Brendan Castillo Says:

    i sware to god on my life that i would slit this motherfucking artists throat if i ever saw him

  71. Brendan Castillo Says:

    oh and mark staff brandi u are a fucking dousche bag

  72. Brendan,

    That seems a little uncalled for and unfriendly. We are trying to keep the name calling to a minimum.

    Thank you,

  73. This is terrible- but what is worse is that it was displayed for days and no one tried to release it or call the police. And he’s not a criminal- he’s an artist and is rewarded by acceptance into an international art competition.

  74. que onda este hijo de puta. deverian amarrarlo y que la misma hambre se lo coma vivo igual como se lo iso al pobre perro. Los animales no son los animales pero nosotros mismos (no quiero ofender a nadie).

  75. Do your research!!!! The dog DID NOT die! He was on display for three hours a day for three days and then escaped. He was fed while not on display. Artists are not cruel idiots that just torture animals for fun! His point was to show how a starving animal (something found everywhere in large 3rd world cities)is ignored in everyday life and but noticed when on display. It is a comment on art and a comment on life.

    Do your research before you jump to conclusions about “stupid foreigners” If you have traveled outside your lucky US life, you would know that starving animals are a seriously ignored problem internationally.

  76. Mark Staff Brandl Says:

    I don’t believe in insulting foreigners either, — and I live “abroad” permanently. But do YOUR research and you’ll find that this stupid-event-for-attention artist changed his story about what happened at least FIVE times. Whatever happened, it is stupid, mean-spirited and whether or not OTHER creatures suffer or not does not justify ones own misuse of suffering, whether actual or virtual, as exploitation for fame, even if the artist begins to explain that it wqs only illustration of an idea. Self-serving neo-conceptual event art at its worst.

  77. fuck people who went to watch this

  78. Tom Hering Says:

    “So everybody has looked at the photo and the headline, become upset, signed the petition, blogged about it… and then had dinner. Don’t you feel righteous and fullfilled now that you’ve signed an online petition? Did it take much effort, or inconvenience you in any way?”

    Since when did “You are not as good as you could be so your good acts are meaningless” become a valid argument?

  79. Viper Kilzz Says:

    Come and try that shit in New York

  80. Vaughan Johnstone Says:

    I would pay to see the same thing done to this artist

  81. in defense i would say this was a success.

    those who choose to discount this as an act of cruelty have missed the meaning of the piece altogether. not sayin i’d do this, but at least i understand it. criticism created out of anger and rage comes from not understanding. this was far from a stupid, self-serving, mean-spirited act. it is pure hatred, an apathetic gesture, dissatisfaction of what humanity was, is, and will be.

    please do not misinterpret my criticism as negative. adopt a dog, don’t eat meat, quit looking at art, read a book, stop watching television. thank you.

  82. If I’d been there, I would have taken that dog home. This disgusting creature who calls himself an “artist” makes me sick. And this guy above me needs help, who would defend this??

  83. i think this is disgusting whats the point in having a dog if you aren’t going to look after it.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he is sick in the head

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