There Will Be No Dead Cat On the Roof of the Met

May 12, 2015 | Liam Mathews

The Wall Street Journalreports that artist Pierre Huyghe has nixed a sculpture that contains a dead cat from his installation on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop garden, as well as another piece that would have contained live ants. The installation, which opens Tuesday, was slated to contain the two pieces as part of the exhibition as recently as Sunday, but Huyghe pulled them out of show at the last minute, because “he was wary of creating a sideshow-like distraction, and because he didn’t think they added to the work,” according to the WSJ.

The cat sculpture is the carcass of a pet cat that died of natural causes that has been treated with copper to create an effect like the one seen on the Copper Man, a body of man who died around the year 550 in a Chilean copper mine and became mummified when the copper fused with his skin. The ant piece was to be a reproduction of on of the Met’s pieces, an ancient Egyptian sculpture of the god Anubis, but made out of live ants.

Sheena Wagstaff, chairwoman of the museum’s Modern and Contemporary Art Department, described the work as “a quiet installation” and that Huyghe decided that the cat and ant sculptures were too showy.

There will still be some animals in the art, though: One of the rooftop pieces contains an aquarium with tadpole shrimp and American brook lamprey inside, species thought to be millions of years old (a theme of the show is archaeology).

(Photo: Jack Zalium)