Chris Burden’s Urban Light installing in Los Angeles. Photo: Sipa Press/ Rex Shutterstock
Rabbit Town markets itself as a destination for” selfie tourism” and its Instagram account, which includes the tagline” the way to more happiness” punctuated by a rabbit emoji, features dozens of its guests taking photos at its installations.
Sunaryo, a celebrated artist and gallery proprietor in Bandung, first heard about Rabbit Town when it went viral on social media this week.
” This is embarrassing because Bandung is known as a creative city but then you have someone making this ,” he said.” For artists who work hard for their careers, to have their works taken like that is sorrow .”
Sunaryo said the inspiration behind the works was clear and their public and commercial display problematic.
Rabbit Town, he indicated, should apologise and clarify the authorisations status for the works.
Amir Sidharta, an art researcher and auctioneer, told Rabbit Town was clearly catering to the art market.” I think Rabbit Town is the kind of place in which the owner is very responsive to what people are looking at in museums ,” he said.” People are going to museums not for their knowledge enhancement but more for taking selfies .”
People in Indonesia’s art world are understandably upset about Rabbit Town, he said, and not only because of copyright issues. The theme park” could have easily engaged many Indonesian artists, since we have many talented Indonesian artists that could have produced unique creations just for his place, and that would be much more interesting .”
Rabbit Town was opened in January by Henry Husada, the chief executive and president of the Kagum Group, and is located on his two-hectare property, according to a report by the Indonesian news site Kompas.com. Husada’s interest in rabbits is thought to be derived from his Chinese zodiac sign.
As well as taking selfies, Rabbit Town visitors can also feed plunges and koi fish, watch monkeys, pet rabbits and position Husada’s collection of rabbit sculptures.
The theme park has been contacted for comment.