Goldfish Liquidized, Museum Director Acquitted
May 20, 2003 - A museum director in Denmark was acquitted on Monday of charges
of cruelty to animals for a controversial exhibit in which goldfish were
liquidized in a blender to test visitors' sense of right and wrong.
The exhibit at the Trapholt modern art museum in 2000 featured live goldfish
swimming in a blender. Visitors were given the possibility of pressing the
button to transform the fish into a runny liquid.
Artist Marco Evaristti, the Chilean-born bad boy of the Danish art scene, said
at the time that he wanted to force people to "do battle with their
Two goldfish died after visitors pressed the button, and the Danish
association Friends Of Animals filed a complaint against the artist as well as
the director of the museum, Peter S. Meyer, for cruelty to animals.
Only Meyer was taken to court over the affair, after he refused to pay a 2,000
kroner (about $315) fine for failing to respect an injunction to cut the
blenders' electricity so that visitors would not be tempted to kill the
But the director refused to pay the fine in the name of artistic freedom,
leaving police no option but to haul him into court.
"It's a question of principle. An artist has the right to create works which
defy our concept of what is right and what is wrong," he told the court in
The court acquitted Meyer after a technician employed by the blender
manufacturer and a veterinarian both testified that the fish did not
experience any suffering due to the blenders' high speed, and said they were
The artist meanwhile said the idea behind the exhibit was to "place people
before a dilemma: to choose between life and death."
"It was a protest against what is going on in the world, against this
cynicism, this brutality that impregnates the world in which we live," he
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