Brian Dailey

Lone Wolf

May 24, 2024 — May 26, 2024
Opening Wednesday 24. April 2024 18:00

Statement on the course and execution of the artistic performance "Brian Dailey: Lone Wolf"

Dear friends and enemies alike,

due to the unprecedented and for me personally shocking hysteria and publicity that broke out following the release of false information about the performance of the American artist Brian Dailey entitled "Lone Wolf'', which took place at the Karpuchina Gallery on May 24 until May 26, 2024, I would like to briefly comment on the implementation of this event, especially with regard to the treatment of wolves, resp. wolf dogs (crossbreeds), Hella, Dante and Tundra, which was an essential and integral part of the artistic concept of the work.

First of all, I apologize for making a statement five days after the outbreak of the media case of alleged animal cruelty in my gallery, but I was so shocked by the attacks on the gallery and directly on my person that I was not able to write an appropriate statement for such a time. At the same time, false facts were provided by the association for the protection of animals to the department of culture of the MHMP, so in parallel we are forced to deal with the case at this level as well.

Brian Dailey's performance, which was conceived of in 1978, was supposed to represent a kind of stimulus for thinking about the individual's position in society, the imaginary social cages that try to limit different perspectives and the individuality of the individual. Today, especially in the age of social media and accelerated human communication, which is very susceptible to the creation and spread of false facts and misinformation, it has been updated.

For the purpose of the performance, the gallery arranged for the artist Brian Dailey to hire Horkai Animal Training Center, website: https://horkai.com, which has more than 20 years of experience and tradition in the field of training and securing animals for films and other cultural events. Wolves trained by them, or wolfdogs, appeared in films such as Spy Game or Hell Boy 2. It is therefore obvious that the animals that "effected" the performance were properly trained and tamed for this purpose, and it was also evident that Hella, Dante and Tundra were in complete calm, as they were used to the presence of people.

During the actual "performance" of the animals at the event held at the Karpuchina Gallery, all rules and conditions for the correct and ethical treatment of animals were strictly observed. The animals were placed in a sufficiently large cage measuring 400 x 600 cm. The whole performance lasted only three hours a day, with each of the wolves being the part of the performance for only one hour. They alternated at the recommendation of the handlers after an hour so that they would not be overloaded or exposed to undue pressure or negative influence from the environment. The maximum number of people in the lower areas of the gallery, where the cage was located, was always only 5 people. Two experienced and trained experts from the Horkai company were present throughout the performance, who evidently had a very good and close relationship with the animals and who also routinely take care of these animals at other film or cultural events. Animals that did not directly perform in the caged areas were walked on a leash around the gallery or were housed in spacious pens in the van, where they had bedding, water and enough room to turn and move about adequately.

On the last day of the performance, i.e. on 26 May 2024, the State Veterinary Administration (SVS) and the Czech Environmental Inspectorate (ČIŽP) inspected the site and found no wrongdoing on the part of the gallery, and certainly not in relation to the alleged cruelty of the animals concerned, as this event was misleadingly and distortedly reported. According to the information available to me, the ČIŽP suspected that the wolfdogs in question were wild animals and that the representatives of Horkai did not have complete documents on the origin and legal acquisition of the animals, which was also the reason that after long hours of investigation the animals were temporarily detained.

The unsubstantiated accusations and the subsequent extremely misleading and negative media presentation of the event held in my gallery resulted in the unleashing of a wave of hysteria and hatred that was and is based on a misinterpretation, or rather misinformation, about animal cruelty in my gallery premises, which is quite shocking to me.

This whole unfortunate media misinterpreted event strikes me as a very ill-fated afterthought that unintentionally connects to the idea of Brian Dailey's work, which is the position of man as an independent thinking individual in the contemporary world and the fight against manipulation and misinformation.

Alexandra Karpuchina

Karpuchina Gallery, Rybná 22, Praha 1


A three day performance. A powerful commentary on the threat to tolerance and independent thinking.

“As an artist and a global citizen, I am deeply concerned about the current state of society, particularly regarding individuality and independent thinking. The rise of social media and its echo chambers have significantly contributed to increased tribalism and polarization, posing a threat to the diversity of thought and expression that is vital for a thriving society.“ - Brian Dailey The core of "Lone Wolf" lies in the stark visual representation—an imprisoned wolf confined within a 400 x 1000 cm fence cage, positioned at the center of gallery space. A deliberate 45 cm walkway surrounds the cage on all sides, offering a narrow space for human observers to contemplate and scrutinize the lone creature. This carefully crafted spatial arrangement serves as an allegory for the struggle faced by individuals resisting the pull of conformity.

Originally conceived in 1978, at a time when individual thinking and creative expression faced challenges, the work gains renewed significance in the context of our technology-driven era. Today, "Lone Wolf" acquires an urgency that transcends its original conception, as instant means of technology act as relentless pressure for individuals to conform to tribal demands of groupthink.

The revisitation of this work in 2024 underscores its critical importance in a world where the expression of independent thought faces unprecedented scrutiny and coercion. "Lone Wolf" becomes a symbol of resistance against the erosion of individuality, challenging viewers to confront the impact of technological tools that amplify societal expectations and hinder diverse perspectives.

In an age where conformity is often enforced through digital means, Dailey's "Lone Wolf" is not just a performance; it is a rallying cry for the preservation of independent thinking. It prompts reflection on the societal cages that seek to confine diverse perspectives and emphasizes the timeless importance of creating spaces where individual creativity can flourish despite the relentless pressure to conform. This work, born in 1978, emerges as a beacon guiding us through the contemporary challenges of the digital age, asserting its critical relevance and importance even more fervently than its initial conception.

Brian Dailey (born August 12, 1951) is an American artist noted for his careers in both art and international relations. His work in a variety of mediums—including photography, film, installations, and painting—engages with the social, political, and cultural issues of our times and is not easily categorized. Dailey's art reflects his unconventional evolution as an artist and multifaceted life experiences, which include national-level involvement in arms control, space policy, intelligence systems, and international security. He is based in the Washington DC metropolitan area and maintains studios in the District and Woodstock, Virginia. Among his numerous showcases are eg.: Closely Watched, exhibited at Otis Art Institute,1975 and Performance in Viciousness, exhibited at the Roger Wong Gallery, 1976, also JIKAI, Midnight Moment, Times Square, NYC, February 2014, or To Look Is To Think, MOMA Tbilisi, June 2022.

From 1975 to 1979, Dailey's work represented a body focused on large performance and installation work utilizing animals or actors to express the political and social challenges of that time. An example could be Closely Watched, exhibited at Otis Art Institute, 1975, when his work explored the direction and implications of government surveillance at a time when individuals and political parties were being illegally monitored and personal activities exploited or files generated for later use.

Other works such as Performance in Viciousness and Vice address the question of trust and personal desire respectively. The viewer in these works is immersed into an environment where they are protected but also vulnerable to their fears through a structural confrontation within the work. In the former, Performance in Viciousness, exhibited at the Roger Wong Gallery, 1976, the viewer walked a gauntlet of two meters cages separated by only 45 cm. In each cage was a Doberman Pinscher trained to attack and if allowed, to kill.