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Some Pig: Wim Delvoye’s Tattooed Swine Bound for Art Fair Adventure


This little piggy went to market. Wim Delvoye’s “Eugénie” (2005).

Look sharp for the spider with a heart of gold and a gluttonous rat (voiced by Paul Lynde) lurking around the Art Show, which opens with a gala preview tonight at the Park Avenue Armory, because this year’s fair will feature a prize pig. It’s not E.B. White‘s Wilbur as an inked-up adult but “Eugénie,” a stuffed and tattooed swine by Wim Delvoye. A solo show of the Belgian artist’s work will be on view at the booth of Sperone Westwater, one of 72 exhibiting galleries.

“I was interested in the idea of the pig as a bank, a piggy bank,” Delvoye has said of his 1997 foray into tattooing live pigs, a project which ultimately led him to invest in a pig farm in China. “From the beginning, there was the idea that the pig would literally grow in value, but I also knew that they were considered pretty worthless. It’’s hard to make something as prestigious as art from a pig.” Five-foot-long Eugénie is wrapped in an inky blanket of cherubs, cartoon birds, stars, a clown head, and smiley faces that float amidst celtic scrollwork, flames, and disembodied wings. “I’’m known for doing tattoos very quickly, but don’’t give me and human subjects,” Delvoye told one interviewer. “It would be a shame. I’’d tattoo them like pigs!”

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