The Internet is nothing if not filled with artistically-inclined dogs, whether it's the dog who paints to raise awareness of gas chambers or the blind dog who rocks a beret like no other. But we've spent so much time expecting masterpieces from creative souls such as Dogvinci, we've never stopped to think about providing dogs with a forum so they too can appreciate art. But a former Washington Post art critic is about to make the art world a lot more ruff.
Jessica Dawson, in conjunction with Arts Brookfield, will open the world's first art exhibit for dogs, dOGUMENTA, this summer. Dawson explained to W that the idea was sparked as she travelled to various art galleries in the city with Rocky, her Maltese/Yorkshire terrier. Rocky is listed as a curator for the exhibit, along with co-organizer Mica Scalin, which will be physically installed at dog-eye view from August 11th to 13th:
[Rocky] makes studio visits and personally approved each of the 10 new works contributed by 10 New York-based artists, like Merav Ezer and Eric Hibit. Come August, as a part of Arts Brookfield, each will be installed outdoors at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan between the carefully chosen hours of 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., “to be respectful of the heat sensitivities of our four-legged friends.”
Dawson is fully aware that some might giggle at the idea, as she's been telling people about it at various art-world cocktail parties for awhile now: "Some people get it right away and see the multiple levels: the humor and satirical quality, but also how it's heartfelt, how I earnestly believe in it," she said. "Any really revolutionary new art-world action is going to be met with both this look of 'What are you thinking?' and with a real show of solidarity. That’s what happens when you’re innovating."
In an essay for the Criterion Collection, Dawson expanded on her genesis for the gallery:
My own gallery-going experience has been transformed by Rocky, a spirited Morkie whom I met several years ago in a SoHo shelter. To my surprise, Rocky panted with pleasure each time I suggested a Chelsea gallery crawl, even as I remained wary of the dealers’ overhyped wares. I wondered: What was Rocky’s secret? As we spent more and more time together, it became clear that Rocky had something to teach me—to teach all of us—about finding joy in today’s art world. Among his many skills, I noticed a singular capacity to remain in the moment and to see each artwork with fresh eyes.
Rocky’s fearlessness, his capacity to remain curious, and, most importantly, his indifference to the pronouncements of New York Times reviews, were the inspiration for a talk I gave in February to a group of art world insiders gathered in a gallery in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. The lecture, titled Five Things My Dog Taught Me About Art, not only considered the dog’s capacity to teach us about human ingenuity but also served as the launch event for a radical new exhibition I’m organizing called dOGUMENTA. The premise of dOGUMENTA is this: If canines like Rocky and Lolabelle can teach us so much about human creativity, what if they had a show of their own? How would artists respond to this massive new audience?
You can get more info about the project here.