All events are free and open to the public.
Thursday, Oct. 31:
Noon, Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium
Documentary screening and Q&A
Students, faculty and community members are invited to watch the documentary "Sue Coe, Art of the Animal." A Q&A session with the artist will follow.
Friday, Nov. 1:
5-7 p.m., The Trout Gallery, Weiss Center for the Arts
Opening Reception: "The Ghosts of Our Meat"
"The Ghosts of Our Meat" presents more than forty paintings, drawings and prints by artist-activist Sue Coe that address issues relating to animal rights, the meatpacking industry and the ethics of meat consumption. Visit The Trout Gallery's web site to learn more.
7 p.m., Rubendall Recital Hall, Weiss Center for the Arts
Arts Award Ceremony
Includes interview with the artist, led by Northwestern University's Stephen Eisenman, and award ceremony, presided by President Nancy A. Roseman.
Sue Coe still remembers the day in 1960 when she spied a
runaway pig scrambling across a road with several burly, aproned men in tow. Coe,
then nine years old, asked her mother about the incident and learned that the
pig had escaped from the slaughterhouse down the road.
“The vision of the
escaped pig couldn’t be ignored; she became louder and louder in my mind,” Coe
writes in her essay “The Art of Love.” “I went with my friend to the door of the
slaughterhouse and demanded to be showed around, as I wanted to know what was
More than 50 years later, Coe is still demanding to go
behind slaughterhouse doors—only now as an internationally recognized
artist-activist. Coe will discuss her work and her cause during a three-day
residency at Dickinson that will include informal meetings with students and
professors, a public forum, classroom visits, an exhibition and a ceremony
honoring her as the recipient of the 2013 Dickinson Arts Award.
Born in England in 1951, Coe pursued a master’s degree at
London’s Royal College of Art before moving to New York, where she still
resides. Her sometimes nightmarish artworks, which combine elements of
expressionism, cartoons and illustration, poignantly cast a stark light on the suffering
of the marginalized, victimized and oppressed. Her work has been shown in
galleries and museums worldwide, including a retrospective exhibition at the Hirshhorn
Museum, and her paintings, prints and illustrations have appeared on book
covers and in the New York Times, The New Yorker and Rolling Stone.
Through these works, Coe takes a humanist-Marxist approach
to a range of social-justice issues, including class warfare, political
corruption, poverty and violence against women. But it is her writing and
artwork about the horrors of the meat industry—brought into the public
spotlight with the publication of her book Dead
Meat—that brought her international recognition.
Some of Coe’s animal-rights pieces will be shown at
Dickinson Nov. 1 to Feb. 8, in The Trout Gallery’s exhibition “The Ghosts of
Our Meat.” Each teems with a smoldering sense of injustice and intensity
usually reserved for human subjects.
‘Profit over life’
Coe summons that intensity of feeling for animals (Coe calls
them “nonhumans”) by depicting her animal subjects as individuals—unique,
sentient and deserving. In this light, as Northwestern University’s Stephen
Eisenman writes, “the slaughter of an animal becomes a murder, the butchering a
desecration, and the sale and consumption of meat something ghoulish or
A portrait, “Debeaking,” presents a soulful-eyed chicken
with a gaping wound where a beak had been. Another work shows a woman in leather boots and a fur hat
and coat, walking along a wooded pathway at night. The woman turns around to
see a seemingly endless parade of shivering, furless animals, each casting a thin,
ghostly shadow, and a bright light illuminates the scene, indicating that a profound
realization has occurred. As the title of the piece indicates, “The
Ghosts of the Skinned Want Their Coats Back.” [Article continues below.]