The Aspen Art Museum’s unusual installation featuring live turtles with iPads glued to their shells has drawn the ire of a New York precious-metals tycoon and Turtle Conservancy board member, who is calling for a boycott of the museum.
“It sends a bad message about animals,” conservancy board member Andy Sabin, who is acting independently of the organization, told the Aspen Times. “They aren’t made to be art objects and carry banners.”
The installation, “Moving Ghost Town,” has the turtles wandering around an enclosure while the iPads show footage of abandoned Colorado towns. It’s already caused a stir, leading nearly 6,000 people to sign a Change.org petition demanding the iPads be removed on the grounds of animal cruelty.
Sabin said he plans to take out full-page ads in the newspaper calling for a boycott of the museum until the iPads are removed.
“They’re going to ask the public not to go to the museum or give them any financial support,” he said.
Sabin is the owner of Sabin Metal Corp., which its website says is North America’s largest refiner of precious metals like silver, gold and platinum. The Aspen Times reported that Sabin is a generous donor to turtle conservation efforts, recently donating $250,000 to the Turtle Conservancy for its efforts to care for tortoises in Madagascar.
Sabin and others are also worried about the cold-blooded turtles’ exposure to cold temperatures; the installation is supposed to run through October. The Times reports that the turtles are kept in a heated enclosure at night and that they’re under the care of a veterinarian who can decide whether to close the exhibit early because of concerns for the animals’ health.
The iPads are affixed to the turtles’ shells with a silicone epoxy.
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