This Controversial Exhibit on Phobias Features Live Mice on the LES

Bianca Bahamondes Bianca Bahamondes

This Controversial Exhibit on Phobias Features Live Mice on the LES
There’s a new art exhibit in NYC that animal activists are not particularly fond of at the moment.

Opened by artist Joseph Grazi on October 19th in the Lower East Side’s Castle Fitzjohns Gallery, the exhibit addresses the various phobias people have. Not just any phobias, but those he deems to be “irrational.”


Called “Prehysteria,” when you enter the gallery you’ll immediately see a checkered floor that features live mice within black tile boxes.


Each white mouse gets its own box below clear plexiglass. Grazi says they are given water and food, and would have been fed to other animals had he not purchased them for this exhibit.

View this post on Instagram

A note about the live mice in the show: There has been an intense wave of "activism" creeping up against the show so I'm gonna try and address any concerns: 1. These are "feeder mice". They are not sold as pets.. they are bred exclusively to feed to snakes and other reptiles. Living in an art exhibition for a few weeks is a much nicer alternative. The mice are well taken care of and given water and food daily. They have plenty of air. 2. They have as much room to move about as any other small pet in a cage. They walk around chewing on the sides because they're mice and that's what they do. Mice have teeth that don't stop growing and they gnaw on things instinctively to keep their teeth from over growing. 3. Vibrations do not bother them. These are rodents that live under the subway, and our feet. If the streets of NYC were see through , that's what you'd see. 4. If you want to protest, do it at mcdonalds, I promise you the amount of abuse that goes into a McNugget is a million fold. 5. Well… I actually can't think of "5" right now now since I'm exhausted from spending the entire night at the gallery NOT abusing mice but rather taking care of them and making sure the mice are ok. I will of course be tending to them for the duration of the exhibition. If u have any other concerns you're welcome to contact me, I encourage all conversation as that is one of the most important parts of art. -thanks to everyone that's actually bothered to see the show instead of criticize first. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive and I appreciate that dearly! 🐭✌🏻 -J @castlefitzjohnsgallery #prehysteria 📷: @artefuse

A post shared by Joseph Grazi (@josephgrazi) on

Activist Natasha Millikan, however, is not pleased. She began a Facebook group called “Rats and Mice are Awesome”, and has visited the exhibit in protest. Millikan told The New York Times in a recent article that “[t]hey have the instinct to be terrified from anything up above them, any shadow. So at this point, these guys are just shutting down.”

While it doesn’t seem like the gallery will be closing the exhibit, it will end on November 20th. 

Featured image source: Instagram / Castle Fitzjohns Gallery