The first-ever art show for dogs promises to rekindle joy, and oh, does it deliver.
Now open at Lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place, it should come as no surprise that “dOGUMENTA” doesn’t resemble your regular art show.
First of all, it’s not indoors – the show of 10 new works is set up outside along the Hudson River marina. While contemporary art can be challenging even for art critics, as curator Jessica Dawson confessed to us, each piece in “dOGUMENTA” was designed with its audience in mind.
There’s Graham Caldwell’s “The Conclave,” featuring two pup-sized hot pink couches and an ottoman that allows dogs to live out all of their human furniture fantasies. “Confections of Canines and Kings” by Dana Sherwood turns Milkbones and other doggie treats into towering edible sculptures worthy of being served at a French royal banquet, while Kathryn Cornelius provided a puppy oasis, administering reiki and mantra-powered meditation to dogs perched on pillows at “Sit, Stay, Heal.”
Eleanna Anognos’ “Penumbra Oasis” triangular pool surrounded by a moon-like surface caused some doubt among the pups. Some jumped up onto it and right back down, while others stepped into the water to cool their feet or merely paused to take a drink. Hey, as long as the art is speaking to you.
The fun for visitors, with or without pooch, is in watching how the dogs approach each piece and interact with it, whether it’s by smell, nibbling (whether the piece is edible or not) or marking something that really spoke them. (This happens with some frequency; don’t worry, each piece is set on a square of astroturf, and the whole site is cleaned between sessions.)
Don’t have a furry BFF of your own? Animal rescue group Bideawee will have adoptable pups on site on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Owners and pets interpreting and navigating the pieces together was among Dawson’s goals. She created the show, presented by Arts Brookfield, as a tribute to her own rescue Morkie named Rocky who changed her own approach to art. “We’re really seeing the show as an entry point for humans who may not be accustomed to seeking out contemporary art,” she says, “so this is a way for a certain audience of bipeds to have their pup lead them to appreciate art in a new way.”
“dOGUMENTA” is only open at 230 Vesey St. through Sunday, Aug 13, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. It’s free to attend with RSVP for both your four-legged and two-legged besties.