Prettier Pigeons?


To brighten up your day before the long weekend (as spotted on The Atlantic: Cities), feast your eyes on artists Julian Charrière and Julius von Bismarck's work, "Some Pigeons are More Equal Than Others," which the pair revived for the Venice Biennale. As you can see, they spray-painted the pigeons of Venice's Piazza San Marco in a palette of candy brights.

(Now, while this is quite possibly an example of animal cruelty, we dodge/flee from enough pigeons on the streets of New York to make us hesitant to go to bat for their Italian brethren. Also, they look beautiful... and seem OK?)

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  • Halle Richardson

    I hate pigeons but I think this is wrong to do in the name of art.

  • Lou

    Someone did this to the pigeons near city hall in Copenhagen as well - Lou

  • anonymous

    this is obviously hurting or at least harassing a sentient creature

  • Jennifer Monforton

    Wow, this actually makes me really angry. Of course it looks neat, but I don't think art is an excuse to spray peaceful creatures, minding their own business, with toxic fumes and dyes. Thumbs down.


  • Gatton

    A Dutch theme park has dyed pigeons as well. I don't think it's animal cruelty to dye your animal or anything like that since it doesn't hurt and weirdly coloured dyes are always vegan so it's not harmful if they eat/lick it, and think it brightens up the city in this case as well.

    • mlle p

      One can dye a dog with Jell-o or something similar that is non-toxic, but this says they "spray-painted" the birds, which is awful. The fumes of spray paint are terrible to anyone and they could have done a photography show where they colored the birds only in the pictures, which would have made the same artistic point without harming them.

  • Adele.

    This is terrible. Does anyone think of what affect this could have on how the pigeons mate/interract with other pigeons?
    These particular ones may be passed over entirely for mating just because of the colour, bright things in nature are usually the dangerous or poisiounous things.
    Think you should rethink this post - even if the paint is alright on them (which i highly doubt) you're probably irreprably damaging their social interractions. Art should only be able to go so far before it interferes with another species.

  • Barla

    Hey Alice, I couldn't agree more. I feel like the artists message gets lost in just "pretty" colours. With the rich history we have with Pigeons, there are so many other themes one could pull on to show this animal in a meaningful way...

    Happy long weekend!

  • Mfergie889

    Spray painting a pigeon? That is really sad. I hope the animal's are ok...and as a lover of animals I am disappointed that ITG is giving these creeps any positive publicity.

  • Anna-Maria Turcato

    Dear Alice I'm definitely with you. Thank you for explain it so well.

  • 4jsc

    Sounds like cruelty to me. Apparently Italian pidgeons have no one to protect them against thoughtless, inhumane "artists". I'd bet they wouldn't get away with that here. The animal rights communities are far too present.

  • charlotte bentley

    I'm not so sure about the animal cruetly issue, but I'd certainly light up when I saw a blue pigeon!
    I'll never forget when I went on a slum tour in Dharavi, Mumbai (the largest slum in Asia), and in the commercial shopping area, a birdhouse sat perched on a tree. There was a pale lilac pigeon!! I don't think it was spray painted either. Perhaps it was a domestic bird that escaped, but it did light up my day.


    • Eliza

      Ha! The irony of this was just too much with the other posts worrying about the exploitation of some dumb pigeons for arts sake and here you are sharing a little story about a lilac bird lightening your day. What about being concerned about the exploitation of human beings by making their poverty a spectacle and selling tickets for the show?

      That said, there are bigger problems than someone coloring birds. Take slums for example, or slum tours.

  • Bisbee704

    Not a fan. And to the person who said it's not the same as catching birds in the's exactly like that! These birds live in cities...and we don't know what effect this change in color will mean to their existence.

  • Lindsey Schuyler

    Anyone that has a problem with this obviously does not live in a city infested with these disgusting things, nuke 'em all!


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