The museum released a statement yesterday explaining the decision was made ''for the safety of its staff, visitors, and participating artists.'' The move was also made after the museum was on the receiving end of open letters from animal rights groups. A petition for the removal of the works by Chinese artists Peng Yu and Sun Yuan, Xu Bing and Huang Yong Ping was singed by more than half a million people.

The works that have been removed includes a video by Peng Yu and Sun Yuan which features two dogs running at each other whilst on treadmills.

Xu Bing's A Case Study in Transference, 1994, was presented at the Guggenheim as a video, was originally a performance in Beijing of two live pigs, their skin covered in writing.

Ping's Theater of the World, 1993, an installation of insects, reptiles and amphibians that all hunt each other whilst in a cage was also removed from the Guggenheim show.

The statement released on September 25, 2017, on the Guggenheim's website reads: Although these works have been exhibited in museums in Asia, Europe, and the United States, the Guggenheim regrets that explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary. As an arts institution committed to presenting a multiplicity of voices, we are dismayed that we must withhold works of art. Freedom of expression has always been and will remain a paramount value of the Guggenheim.

Lead curator Alexandra Munroe and her team selected almost 150 pieces of experimental art - mainly installation and video, with an emphasis on conceptual art using animals ''to highlight the violence of humankind.''