Is Miru Kim’s Nude Pig Performance Too Weird for Art Basel?

Artist Miru Kim is spending Art Basel living naked in a glass-encased pit with two hogs for performance I Like Pigs And Pigs Like Me. For 104 intimate hours, she is sharing their hay and trough, mingling with their existence. During her 74th hour, ANIMAL ally Diana Frame was at the scene. Here’s what she saw…

Miru Kim is in a small space with two pigs saved from a slaughterhouse. She eats what the pigs eat — out of the trough, mostly grains and raw vegetables — and sleeps with them. I saw her feeding them by hand.

The gallery is a bizarre building, almost like a mall with tons of ridiculous upscale shops and restaurants. She is in a very small storefront, a white box with a door out in the back wall and a glass floor to ceiling front. You could almost walk past it without even noticing.

She was dirty and there was hay on the ground and mud but the light was super bright and the walls were gallery white. It felt unnatural. There was a guard to prevent people taking photos. She was mostly on all fours or laying on her back, interacting with the pigs a lot, scratching them, feeding them, hugging them, rolling around with them. She never walked fully upright.

The Primary Flight gallery was next door. There were about 6 of her photos going for 8K a piece inside.

I thought it would have been packed and compared to other stuff we saw today there were so few people coming to see it or staying long to watch it, maybe five people total while we were there. Maybe it’s just not Miami, too weird. Trying to experience it in that space was hard — noisy, sterile, air conditioned, people strolling around window shopping modern furniture behind you. It was like she was a science experiment.

The pigs will be donated to a no-kill farm after the installation.

Even though Miru Kim’s work is “not explicitly political in nature,” we’re glad to hear the pigs have been saved from torturous death. There’s something strangely appealing about the sterility of the exhibit. From what Kim has said and demonstrated, she’s philosophically, physically and emotionally entwined with the pink beasts. It’s touching. Literally. It’s quite tactile. If it’s too weird for the art fair cruisers, that’s too bad for them.

The exhibit ends tomorrow night. (Photos: Martha Cooper, live feed, Diana Frame/ANIMALNewYork)