Watch Dogs React to America’s First Art Exhibit for Canines
An exhibition created for art-loving pooches just premiered in New York City.
Titled dOGUMENTA, the show, which ran from August 11 to 13 and was presented by Arts Brookfield, was conceived by art critic and educator Jessica Dawson, who enlisted the help of her Maltese-Yorkshire terrier Rocky as a co-curator, along with creative development consultant Mica Scalin. The name of the show is homage to documenta, the contemporary art exhibition in Kassel, Germany.
In describing dOGUMENTA, the creators said it “offers an unprecedented opportunity for the creative community to engage with a new breed of art lover and to consider its concerns, interests and worldview.”
But can dogs really appreciate art? Dawson enthusiastically believes so, and suggested that dogs can appreciate it even more than humans. “Sometimes in a gallery, I say, ‘I should like this. I shouldn't like this. Dogs don't have those same concerns,’” she told Travel + Leisure.
So over the course of three days in August, four-legged attendees (and their owners) were treated to 10 works of art commissioned with the intent of appealing to canine tastes.
The Barking Project by Merav Ezer, constructed of wood silhouettes of three canine breeds, was equipped with motion sensors that emitted looped recordings of barking dogs.
Eleanna Anagnos’s interactive Penumbra Oasis featured a moon-like surface with a pool in the center — giving visitors the chance to cool off from the summer heat.
Fountain, an installation by Paul Vinet that was inspired by Andy Warhol’s oxidation paintings, encouraged attendees to participate in the creative process by urinating on the sculpture, which was painted with blue lines that dripped and smeared after getting wet.
But the undisputed highlight of the show was Confections of Canines and Kings by Dana Sherwood, an edible sculpture concocted of dog treats, bones, and peanut butter resembling Victorian-era tiered pastries that kept tails wagging and tongues salivating. According to the exhibition guide, “the work addresses issues of control between canine and owner — will the owner allow the dog to eat the artwork, or not? The dog is welcome to do as s/he pleases… but owners may decide otherwise.”
While there are no future plans for dOGUMENTA, Dawson told T+L that she’s open to the idea of touring or re-mounting it.
Until then, watch the video above to get a dog’s-eye view of the experience.