Christopher Chiappa


Christopher Chiappa, ‘Hermit crab’, video (2010)

‘Hermit crab’ is a video manipulating common childhood pet hermit crabs in a way that
depicts power and abuse. The artist’s head is cropped out of each frame as he methodically
glues each of the twenty-five hermit crab shells together to form a circle. The crabs’ behavior
during the gluing evokes human struggle and strategies for coping as a group.


Photograph taken at the end of the production of the film.


‘Wiper’, 2005-2008
Automobile back windshield wiper mounted on wall making a drawing from the rubber residue

Video of ‘Wiper’.


‘Cornball‘, 2010
Pigmented resin and spray paint over carved Styrofoam


‘Albino Knife’, 2010
Hand carved pine and spray paint


‘Speed Stick’, 2008
An arch made of cast Speed Stick deodorant


  1. Abuse will not be tolerated
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Imagine the outrage if Chiappa tied the tails of a dozen dogs together in a circle to “evoke human struggle and strategies for coping as a group.”

    ‘Hermit crab’ is a video manipulating land hermit crabs in a way that are becoming increasingly rare in the wild that depicts power and abuse by Christoper Chiappa himself.

  2. Emily
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    That is disgusting why would you harm an animal like that? what happened to them?

  3. Jason
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    “The crabs’ behavior during the gluing evokes human struggle and strategies for coping as a group.”

    What the heck? The crabs’ behavior during the gluing is the reaction of an animal that has no capacity to understand what is happening.

    You might call it art. I call it sick. You are a disgusting person, Mr. Chiappa.

  4. Amy
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The irony is that the crabs’ struggle also emulates human struggle in that it’s caused by one individual or group distancing himself/herself/themselves from the pain he/she/they cause/s out of a belief that the project is more important than the suffering of others.

  5. Tash
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Well, you have certainly succeeded in showing how cruel and abusive humans can be to things weaker than themselves.

    Have you ever burned yourself with hot glue? If you have, you’ll know it’s extremely painful. I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but hermit crabs have a soft, vulnerable tail tucked into their shells. That tail is very sensitive to things such as heat, against which a shell offer almost no protection.

    Boiling hot glue being applied to shells will almost have definitely burned their soft bodies. Injuries to that part of their body are usually fatal.

    Did you know that scientific studies have proved hermit crabs feel pain? Did you know they can live for around 75 years? That is, if they are stuck together and burned for art.

  6. Linda
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Gluing live animals together is not art, it’s abuse – plain and simple.

  7. Wendy S
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    That is not art. That is using glue as a form of torture

  8. Posted May 13, 2010 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    “‘Hermit crab’ is a video manipulating common childhood pet hermit crabs in a way that depicts power and abuse”

    BECAUSE IT IS ABUSE!!! Coenobita are a fragile species that when overly stressed will slowly begin to build acid in their bodies that causes them to lose limbs and eventually die! What is more stressful than being HOT glued to others. Not to mention a hermit crab has a set smaller legs inside of their shells that are used to grip the shell and keep it on the crabs body. The pressure of those crabs pulling on eachother is highly likely to be ripping those crabs apart! Being ripped and pulled apart by pressure and burned by hot glue… They should enable drawing and quartering again, because I can assure you I know a number of people that would consider seeing the artist having that done to him as ART!

  9. Austin
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    What is this? I’d never call torturing hermit crabs art, but it is without a doubt abuse! Shells have a low specific heat capacity, so there is no doubt in my mind that these hermit crabs suffered as Christopher Chiappa glued them! This is really frustrating to see as I know that the hermit crabs are in agony.

  10. Sasha
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    You sick fucker… c’mon really hey how bout I hot glue your balls to a bunch of other guys and laugh while you all try to get them apart and call it “art” i will smile when karma catches you for this one cause it will happen.

    if my comment offends those who run this site and the dick in the photos think how we feel after viewing this you bastards.

  11. mel
    Posted May 24, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Hermit crabs…
    What is wrong with you! That is a living creature you insane monster. I am an artist and what you did is not ‘art’ it is just sick and twisted. Apparently you did not get enough love from your mother because you are an individual that loves to see little things suffer. I hope you did not pay for your art education because it was wasted money. Artists care about the world around them and we never use living creatures as displays for our sick fetishes the way you have. That look on your face looks like you enjoyed this ‘experiment’ I wonder what your local animal rights groups would think of this, I am pretty sure you could get some heavy fines and maybe more for animal cruelty.

  12. Alf Covey
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Wow, what else do you have in your brilliant portfolio of performing arts? Perhaps one where you tie kittens together and throw them over a clothes line in order to show man’s violence to man. Perhaps you could staple puppy’s tongues to chew sticks to show the evils of fast food, or put ferrets in cages and electrocute them to show the evils of addiction. Hermit crabs are amazing, intelligent creatures who feel pain and pleasure, have observed some form of emotional response, and being messed with can seriously stress them out – to the point of killing them. I don’t know if it hurt, I don’t know if you released them to wherever you got them, and I don’t know if they lived beyond this, but it doesn’t matter. The only thing clear in your crab project is that you tortured helpless animals to make an amateur point at best – though no degree of professionalism to a point would warrant torturing small animals. Petty-minded sadism is not becoming.

  13. Lisa
    Posted June 1, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Hot gluing animals together is not art, it is abuse, plain and simple. What kind of sick individual are you to even think of doing something that cruel just to make a point? You can’t tell me that you couldn’t have come up with a much better way to get your point across, one that doesn’t inflict pain on another living creature. Maybe you don’t realize how long coenobita can live when properly cared for, they are not just disposable pets like many people think!

  14. G
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never seen art as disgusting as these crabs glued together. I don’t care what it represents. Art is all about a tasteful way to depict thoughts,feelings, ect. This is

  15. Gina
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    The thought of making LIVE creatures suffer is so distasteful, I have a hard time considering you an artist. You could have come up with another way to depict your thoughts! You are a sick abusive person and I hope you never make a cent off your art for the torture you put those poor crabs through.

  16. LH
    Posted June 29, 2010 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    It’s amazing that a man can videotape himself torturing animals and get away with it…much less call it art. This is disgusting. This man deserves an animal cruelty charge, and the sick gallery that featured this abhorrent person should also be fined, maybe educated at the same time. Ridiculous…

  17. Rob
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    So your pretty much a fuckin stain on society, Like why would you do something soo cruel to those crabs? I hope you burn in hell why giant crabs tear you limb from limb for eternity you sadistic fuck. Your not an artist, your a freak. If I ever see you in person, im probably gonna kick you in the dick and laugh as you writhe on the ground

  18. Suzie
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    The point of art is to invoke a reaction; to make the observer think. The other art pieces are great,and do just that, but with this one horrific act it is hard to respect this man as an artist. The lack of compassion is reprehensible.

  19. Posted March 14, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Dear Suzie, thank you for your response.
    You say the point of art is to invoke a reaction, to make the observer think. I personally think there is no general ‘point’ to art, the fact that you say that that is its point probably means that you want that to be its point. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if that is what you want from it, this work does just that. Just take a look at all the responses above yours.
    We place images of artworks on this blog every single day. I think it’s a shame that reactions are almost only invoked when the artwork in question depicts some form of cruelty on animals or whatever else. I would not want to condone cruelty on anyone or anything, but I also do not want to condemn this particular example of it. The fact is that art can also be a mirror to society and the reflection in the mirror need not always be pretty.

  20. Novoline
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Krass dass sowas wirklich passiert ist ;-)

  21. Animal Man
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    What part of gluing living animals together is art? Being an animal behaviourist and an artist I know that what you have done there is utterly revolting and sick…you should be charged against the Animal Welfare Act…or maybe an artist should glue you to several moving vehicles and see ‘human struggle and strageies for cope’ then! >(

  22. Posted July 4, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    This “Artist” is a sick piece of shit. Serious??? Glueing Gods creatures together. ? His penis should be fucking glued to a hammer, and swung hard and often. how the fuck is THIS shit art? This is one sick fuck.

  23. Rebecca
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    This is sick and disgusting to do that to the crabs they are animals and livin creatures like anythin else I wanna hot glue ur body to a board with everyo e else who thinks that is art and see if u like it. It torture

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