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An Unnecessary Overview of Artworks Featuring Pigs
Just in time for the Year of the Pig.
News 17 Feb 2019

Last week, the Chinese New Year welcomed in the year of the Pig. Among the other Chinese zodiac animals, pigs are said to be ebullient, flexible, gentle and optimistic. So, no wonder why the cute animals have been featured in numerous artworks going back hundreds of years!

Ranging from a painting of pigs by an unknown artist that became a trending meme to installations by today’s most controversial artists, we choose our top favourite artworks that feature the star animal of the year!

Fiesta Pig (1979) by Andy Warhol

Image via Lempertz

Showing a humorous side that is often lost in his portrait screen prints, Andy Warhol created Fiesta Pig in the same style as After the Party in 1979. Using the same subject matter as After the Party, this screen print depicts a pink pig wandering through a disco-lit party, exploring the discarded plates, bowls and glasses of the party goers. This curious pink pig certainly created a new meaning to the phrase party animal. The screen print seen above was commissioned by the publisher of Die Walt to be printed in the German newspaper.

A pair of pigs by an unknown artist 

British (English) School; A Pair of Pigs; Compton Verney; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/a-pair-of-pigs-54730
A pair of pigs via Arts UK 

Breeders of farm animals in the 18th and 19th centuries often commissioned artists to paint rather chubby unbelievable portraits of their livestock in order to impress neighbours and visitors. The painting of the two exaggerated pigs by an unknown artist has since become a meme. One of the best tweets of 2016 features a painting of the two large pigs, one eating and the other standing by its side. One says to the other, “brother may I have some öats.” And that’s the whole joke that made the art work do the rounds on the internet.

Pigs Might Fly (2008) by Damien Hirst

Pigs Might Fly via Sang Tan

British artist Damien Hirst is not only famous for preserving a shark in a tank of formaldehyde, but a whole range of other animals too, including pigs. His most famous piggy being his installation named, Pigs Might Fly. Hirst’s  famous pig sold for a jaw dropping $198 million. The sale came as global markets reeled from the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The Bond (2016) by Patricia Piccinini

PICCININI Patricia The Young Family, 2002 Silicone, polyurethane, leather, plywood, human hair 80 x 150 x 110cm
Image via Lines in the sand of Patricia Piccinini, Australia b.1965 / The Young Family 

The Australian artist Patricia Piccinini’s famous grotesque sculptures may not be made to be any particular creature, but we think they look distinctly like pigs. One of these being from the Young Family series.

Tattooed pigs by Wim’s Delvoye

Image via ©Studio Wim Delvoye

An enfant terrible of the contemporary art world,  Wim Delvoye’s work is often designed to shock, appall, and provoke. The provocative Belgian artist especially ignited a big conversation when he started to tattoo live pigs for his artwork. After he’d finished tattooing the pigs, they were exhibited live in galleries, when they died they were stuffed and sold for large sums of money, oink – oink!

Text by Peigi Mackillop

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