Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2001.50
People
Dieter Roth, Swiss (Hanover, Germany 1930 - 1998 Basel, Switzerland)
Title
Shit Hare
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Karnickelköttelkarnickel, Scheisshase, Rabbitdroppingrabbit
Classification
Multiples
Work Type
multiple
Date
1975
Culture
Swiss
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/173509
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Dirt, straw, hay, rabbit droppings, pressed into a mold
Dimensions
sight: 18 x 18 x 10 cm (7 1/16 x 7 1/16 x 3 15/16 in.)
Provenance
Private Collector, North Rhine Westphalia, Auction, Germany, 1990, 2001.
Galerie Marion u. Roswitha Fricke, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2001, 2001.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Purchase in memory of Eda K. Loeb
Copyright
© Dieter Roth Estate / Hauser & Wirth
Accession Year
2001
Object Number
2001.50
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Commentary
The "Shit Hare", 1975 by Dieter Roth (1930-1998) is an artwork representing, indeed exhibiting, the organic process of decay and the biological end product of the body. Pressed in the shape of a traditional Easter chocolate bunny, the material of rabbit excrement belies and reverses its cute attractiveness to viewers.
Commissioned by Daniel Spoerri’s "Eat Art Gallery" in Düsseldorf, Roth’s "Shit Hare" can be seen in relation to the output of – and experimentation with – organic and edible works in the 1960s in and around this gallery’s influence. In addition, Roth taught at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where the influential Joseph Beuys was his colleague. Beuys’ encouragement of expanding the ideas of sculpture and art was responsible for effecting a whole generation of artists coming out of the school. His mythological imbuing of animals, especially the hare (for both its religious connotations and its procreative powers), the most obvious of which is "How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare", 1965 is indeed an interesting consideration when thinking about Roth’s "Shit Hare". Provocation and commentary – favored tactics of Roth’s – enter the interpretation of the "Shit Hare", and provide a lighthearted countering to Beuys’ self-opposed spiritual and philosophical weight. As such, Roth emerges as a comic figure or jester, who provides his own insights by creating works of satire that contain earnest messages, for example, by asking how seriously we should take a self-appointed religious or artistic leader.
Publication History

Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 39

Exhibition History

Eat Art: Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth, Sonja Alhäuser, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 10/04/2001 - 12/16/2001

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This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu