If you normally avoid art galleries for being too conceptual, too lofty—too pretentious—we’ve got a show that might shift your perspective. There’s a dog-themed extravaganza on view now at Jack Hanley Gallery in Manhattan, featuring over a dozen artists and their eclectic interpretations of all things canine.
“Best in Show,” up through June 12, includes abstract dogs, ceramic dogs, mating dogs, lost dogs, angry dogs, and one frighteningly realistic painting of a man with a dog’s head. Bonus: A portion of sales helps out the nearby shelter Animal Haven.
We chatted with the exhibition’s curator, Silke Lindner-Sutti, about her creative homage to our furry, four-legged friends.
Why did now seem like the right time for a dog-themed exhibition?
I initially thought of doing the show after discovering the work of Susumu Kamijo, who has been exclusively painting poodles for several years now. After that I started seeing dogs in art everywhere, and was thinking that the dog deserves its own show. The selection of artists for the show was narrowed down after the pandemic. Tyler Dobson, for example, references the increase in adoptions in his new body of work.
What’s so endlessly fascinating about dogs, from a purely formal perspective?
I think it’s the big variety of breeds, styles, shapes, sizes, and colors that makes them an interesting subject matter to experiment with. Dogs are fun to look at and it’s probably the animal we know the most breeds of. Flowers or landscapes have widely served as a platform for formal explorations, and perhaps dogs are being depicted more often now because they’re closer to contemporary culture and don’t feel overly used.
Is dog ownership a prerequisite to making art-about-dogs?
I was surprised to find out that not many of the artists in the show have dogs themselves — I think only four or five of them do — and a few of them even have a cat instead, like Chloe Seibert and Elizabeth Jaeger. So no, I don’t think dog ownership is a prerequisite.
Do you have a favorite work of ‘dog art’ from the art historical canon?
Giacomo Balla’s Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash.
Do you feel like the art world is more ‘cat person,’ or more ‘dog person’?
I think artists often are more ‘cat person’ but the art world as a whole is ‘dog person.’ Dog people are more social, out and about, and love attention, either for themselves or their dogs. Now that I think of it, the art world is actually quite similar to a big dog show.
“Best In Show” is on view at Jack Hanley Gallery (327 Broom Street, NYC) through June 12. Explore more art and creativity coverage from Lemonade at FF0083.