I forgot to add this when I posted the question, but I'm also interest to know where the line is drawn with art. Where do you draw a line between art and political statements? Do you think they are different, or are they the same thing?
I'm very good at being objective, especially when it comes to art, but this one I don't know about. If he was trying to make a statement about the population of strays in Costa Rica, could he have gone about it in a different way and still gotten his point across? He had the option to help the dog, but instead he starved the dog to it's death. But would photographs, or video documentation, or any other medium been as effective? Is he receiving the attention for this piece for the reason in which he [claims was] indented, or has the message been lost all together? Will the impact of this piece have an influence on people's views of the stray animal population, or just on his potential future repeat of this installation?
To be honest, I don't think another medium would have gotten his point across as strongly as this, but I'm not sure that it will make a difference for the homeless animals in Costa Rica either. This story and this installation has only reached as many people as it has because anyone with a place in their heart for animals cannot believe the cruelty involved, or what kind of sick person would do this (and don't get me wrong, I'm appalled by this as well). People are concerned only with not allowing this installation to be repeated. Do I think this should be allowed to be repeated, let alone encouraged to be repeated? Absolutely not. I think if his concern was in helping the stray dogs, he could have taken a different approach. I'm afraid that the only "good" that could have possibly come from this will be lost.