Aspen Art Museum accused of tortoise abuse

Aug 06, 2014, 10:42 PM EDT
A Cai Guo-Qiang piece involves iPads being mounted onto the shells of three African Sulcata tortoises, is titled “Moving Ghost Town.”
(Photo: Cai Guo-Qiang, “Moving Ghost Town” on roof deck of new Shigeru Ban-designed Aspen Art Museum; Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com)

Animal Rights activists are up in arms over a Cai Guo-Qiang work involving tortoises that was commissioned for the 24-hour opening festivities of the new Aspen Art Museum, according to a report from the Aspen Daily News. The piece, which involves iPads being mounted onto the shells of three African Sulcata tortoises, is titled “Moving Ghost Town.” “With iPads mounted to their backs, the tortoises feature video footage of three local ghost towns, which were filmed by the creatures themselves,” explains the Aspen Art Museum’s website. “Forgotten stories of the once prosperous ghost towns are retold from the tortoises’ perspective.”

Aspen native Lisabeth Oden, however, is none too pleased. Oden, who has apparently rehabilitated tortoises in the past, created a Change.org petition yesterday that has now amassed more than 400 signatures. “These creatures were not designed to carry 2-pound iPads,” she told the Aspen Daily News. “I can see them doing this in some rural town in some third-world country, but not here.”

—  Ashton Cooper (@ashton_cooper)

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