Chicken-Killing Art By Student Gets Teacher Fired

A chicken-killing art performance piece has resulted in an announcement this week from the Alberta College of Art and Design that they have fired the student’s instructor Gordon Ferguson. Veteran art instructor Ferguson, who has taught in the ACAD’s sculpture department for 32 years, has confirmed the firing and said that he has retained legal counsel to mount an appeal.

Miguel Michelena Suarez performed the chicken-killing piece on April 18 in the cafeteria of the Calgary, Canada college.

He brought a live chicken, cut its throat, bled it out into a metal pot, and plucked the feathers.

Although you might think that many a chicken had been prepped for lunch in the cafeteria in question, his fellow students were harsh critics. Somebody called the cops, triggering a police investigation.

“I underestimated the level of disconnect people had between what they eat and how it’s processed and how it comes to the table,” Suarez told the Calgary Herald. “The message got lost.”

One of the students who took the class with Suarez, Joanne Townsend, said that it was part of a performance project called Fact or Fiction. She told CBC Canada: “[I]t was quite beautiful, and not in the gross, gruesome way, but in the way that you know you respect what’s happening and this is life and things go on.”

When the police responded to the call, they actually launched an investigation — complete with photos of a chalked outline of the scene of the alleged crime.

They ultimately decided that no crime had been committed in the cafeteria chicken-killing.

However, ACAD authorities apparently aren’t so forgiving.

But here’s the question:

Yes, yes, we shouldn’t go around killing chickens while people are trying to eat. I’d just as soon see my chicken arrive at the table already battered and fried to a crispy golden-brown.

But to dismiss a 32-year veteran instructor over it? When it wasn’t even his performance but that of a student?

As far as I’m concerned, there are still unanswered questions about the chicken-killing art — and the ACAD response.

[chicken photo by DenisNata via Shutterstock]