Contemporary art is going to the dogs.

By Cailey Rizzo
August 26, 2016
Dogs love fine art, apparently.
Credit: Courtesy of Mikael Buck/MORE TH>N

Some dogs appreciate the finer things in life. Unfortunately, due to silly things like “museum policy” or “health codes,” cultured canines have been barred from experiencing the art world. Until now.

The world’s first contemporary art show curated specifically for dogs opened in South London last week. The show was both interactive and immersive, allowing dogs to experience the works on a visceral level.

Four of the stand-out works were created by Dominic Wilcox, a British designer, artist and inventor, who often makes interactive installations with a commercial bend.

“Contemporary art has long been an important source of inspiration and fascination for humans, but never before has it been created with a view to drawing the same kind of emotions out of animals instead,” Wilcox said in a statement. “While it’s certainly one of the more interesting challenges I’ve faced in my career, it feels great to have created such a truly unique collection of interactive artworks for a completely new audience. I’m looking forward to seeing how many tail wags I get in approval!”

One piece, entitled “Cruising Canines” mimics the sensory nirvana of riding in a car, head lolling out the window. Another brings dogs’ deepest fantasies to gargantuan reality with an oversized dog food bowl, filled to the brim with toys.

The exhibition’s six paintings and drawings act as an existential musing on the canine experience, exploring the unknown of a deep forest, the longing of a chicken drumstick and the unbridled joy of a walk in the park. Pay attention to the colors (mostly grays, blues and yellows); they are specifically tailored to a dog’s range of vision.

This museum is for the dogs.
Credit: Courtesy of Mikael Buck/MORE TH>N
The museum features dog-friendly art exhibits.
Credit: Courtesy of Mikael Buck/MORE TH>N

The show’s curatorial staff consulted vet Robert White-Adams to make sure that the show would provide beneficial “mental and physical stimuli” for dog visitors.

Sadly, the show was only a two-day pop-up in South London, sponsored by insurance company MORE TH>N.

The exhibition was meant to encourage owners to spend more quality time interacting with their pet, especially doing creative and unique activities. We’re wondering just how many owners stopped in front of a painting with their dog to discuss the fine brushstrokes or the composition reminiscent of Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s “Poker Game.”

For every person that pledged to hang out more with their dog during the exhibition, the organization donated £1 to the RSPCA.

Cailey Rizzo writes about travel, art and culture and is the founding editor of The Local Dive. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @misscaileyanne.