'The Ghosts of our Meat' exhibit shines light on meatpacking industry


For decades British artist Sue Coe has used her paint brush and pen to crusade on behalf of animals.

Now a selection of her work on the meat industry is the focus of a new exhibit "The Ghosts of Our Meat" at the Trout Gallery at Dickinson College in Carlisle.

The exhibit presents more than 40 paintings, drawings and prints from the past 25 years that address issues of animal rights, animal cruelty, the meatpacking industry and the ethics of meat consumption.

Whether examining "debeaking," a cruel process done to production chickens or skinning fur-bearers for their pelts, Coe's goal is to make the animals that end up on plates or on the backs of humans real.

As Northwestern University professor and exhibit curator Stephen Eisenman writes of Coe's work, “the slaughter of an animal becomes a murder, the butchering a desecration, and the sale and consumption of meat something ghoulish or macabre.”

Coe also is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning “Dead Meat,” which documents her visits to farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking companies throughout the U.S.Her powerful images have appeared in The New York Times, the New Yorker, Rolling Stone and on many book covers.

Coe is the recipient of the 2013 Dickinson Arts Award and her work is on exhibit at the college through Feb. 8.

(Dickinson College, by the way, is among the nation's leading colleges in furthering sustainability and a proponent of the local food movement.)


("Meat Flies"/Photo courtesy Galerie St. Etienne/New York)