‘Dogumenta’: The Art Exhibit By Dogs for Dogs

A French bulldog covered in paint.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Rocky is a Maltese mix, a ten-pound little scruff of a fellow rescued by art critic Jessica Dawson. And she thinks very, very highly of him.

“I was surprised to see that Rocky could sniff out some of the best artwork in New York,” Ms. Dawson said in a statement to The New York Times about his accompanying her on gallery visits. “I realized that a canine sensibility might be the key to navigating today’s complex art world.”

There have been stranger ideas.

There’s no mention of how those gallery owners felt about a little dog in their typically sterile, elegant spaces, but now they essentially have to accept him; he’s one of them. Rocky is credited as the curator of “Dogumenta,” the art show at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan.

The artworks certainly seem like things a dog might select—towers of treats, a pool of water, comfy chairs, and low, pee-height walls. Canine culture-seekers are encouraged to, ahem, make their own mark. One piece, “Fountain” by Paul Vinet, is even designed to turn such marks into colorful statements with bleeding dyes.

“Dogumenta” isn’t the first art exhibition for dogs. “Play More” by Dominic Wilcox opened and closed last year in London, filled with dog-height paintings in color-pallets intended to be visible to our best friends. And New York City has the American Kennel Club (AKC) Museum, which includes a gallery of doggy heroes and notables. But neither of those have a four-footed curator.

There’s no telling if Rocky knows that he’s a celebrity now. But as he rolls around with the dozens of furry attendees on “Harmony in Blue and Yellow (Balls in Suspension),” a sculpture-cum-toy that lets dogs throw their own balls, he’s certainly seeming to enjoy his exhibit. And the art world must be much more fun to anyone who always has someone else holding the purse.

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