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Artist drops bull from helicopter

An artist dropped a headless bull from a helicopter in central Berlin on Thursday after the city's highest court said it wouldn't stop the performance art, which had drawn criticism from animal rights advocates and residents.

Before the bull fell about 130 feet to the ground, Austrian-born artist Wolfgang Flatz hung motionless from a crane _ naked and bleeding _ with his arms outstretched cross-like as industrial music blared at a factory construction site.

The performance, titled Fleisch (Meat), concluded with a string quartet playing the Blue Danube Waltz as four couples in formal dress danced in alcoves of an unfinished building.

Hours before the performance, the city's highest court turned down an appeal by a 13-year-old girl to prevent the bull, named Bodo, from being used as part of the event. Patricia Strunz, who filed the case under her parents' supervision, argued that it was merely meant to shock people and was not art.

The high court upheld the decision of a lower court that rejected the claim, saying the girl's rights would not be affected by Flatz's planned action because she was not being forced to watch it.

Flatz, 48, dismissed critics, saying "it's laughable to get upset over a dead animal." He has said the performance was aimed at getting people to think about how they associate with nature.

Flatz's most extreme performance up to now was in Tbilisi, Georgia, on New Year's Eve in 1990, where he acted as a human bell clapper beating his body between two plates of steel at a synagogue _ allowing himself to be rung practically unconscious and winding up with serious injuries.

He has also made himself into a dart board and offered himself as a towel in a public bathroom.