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New Aspen Art Museum Under Fire for iPad-Topped Turtles

Aspen's brand new $45 million art museum may have the Pritzker Prize winning architect Shigeru Ban on its side, but that doesn't mean it's immune from criticism. And while originally locals lashed out at the size of the 33,000-square-foot building and its lattice-like appearance, now everyone is up in arms over tortoises. Yup, you read that right. It looks like this weekend's grand opening is set to feature an art exhibit that has desert tortoises wandering around with iPads mounted to their shells. Now, a petition on Change.org has over 800 signatures in less than 24 hours that aims to stop this alleged turtle torture.

The Denver Post is reporting that the artist who created the turtle exhibit "Moving Ghost Town," Cal Guo-Qiang, plans to have the turtles wander around the museum (at a slow pace, one would assume) displaying photographs of Aspen area ghost towns. The exhibit is all part of this weekend's grand opening festivities, when the museum is slated to open to the public for 24 hours. In their pre-coverage of the museum's opening,The Aspen Times reported that the turtle exhibit was made under the supervision of the Turtle Conservancy, and features three turtles, two sisters and a cousin.

Whatever the artist's intention, turtle-lovers from around the world are irate. Below, we've highlighted some of the most interesting comments from the Change.org petition. It looks like the mistreatment of turtles just might be the last straw for some people already dissatisfied with the project.

A commenter from Indiana wrote, "Is there no end to what abuse this museum will do? First, it takes over a whole section of town with a design that is controversial at best, then pollutes the air with smoke to announce its grand opening, now abuse animals too? Enough is Enough! I have to put up with the building, & I had to breathe the smoke, but I will not be quiet about abusing animals who can't speak for themselves!"

Another from Carbondale, "This treatment of other creatures is nauseating. Just because you CAN do something, does not mean you SHOULD do it."

And from Aspen, "You are so out of touch with our community--if you could see around you, you would know that we love animals and nature here. Simply put, abusers are not welcome. What a very poor first impression."

· Aspen Art Museum opens its doors with a bang [Aspen Times]
· How Cardboard King Shigeru Ban Designs an Art Museum [Curbed]
· Take the iPads Off The Tortoises [Change.org]
· Tortoises with iPads spur protest at new Aspen Art Museum [Denver Post]
· Aspen Art Museum Designer Wins Architecture's Biggest Prize [Curbed Ski]