Art has gone to the dogs in L.A.
Described as art for dogs to enjoy, dOGUMENTA, presented a variety of artworks at recent showing meant to be enjoyed by dogs.
“After sniffing around the LA art world, we dug up a group of amazing artists offering fresh perspectives on the issues and interests of four-legged patrons,” said Jessica Dawson, head curator of dOGUMENTA.
First shown in New York, the concept for dOGUMENTA came from Dawson’s experiences walking through galleries with her dog, Rocky, and noticing how he reacted to art.
“I noticed that Rocky was having a much better time than I was. Art and life are one for Rocky. I think dogs have something to teach us about looking at contemporary art.”
Dawson described Rocky as the show’s third curatorial partner and says he went on site visit with the curators to see and sniff all the works-in-progress.
According to Dawson, seven of the eight artworks on display are original to L.A. The first piece, a mixed media sculpture by Tibi Tibi Neuspiel, was the only work from the original show.
“We all know that the LA art scene is so rich and diverse, there was no question in our minds that L.A. was our second stop,” Dawson said.
Dogs and their owners interacted with art, stopping to snap photos and mingle with other cultured pups. The eight art pieces were created at dog level and sturdy enough for dogs to paw, sniff and climb over.
“The challenge in making art for dogs is that the outcomes are really difficult,” said Tucker Marder, whose piece “Pig Totem” features a plywood post that was kept in a pig pen for three years with a hot dog statue perched on top. “You can’t always tell how your work is affecting them.”
“kingKONG,” a large inflatable kong sculpture held a stash of kibble, making it a clear favorite among dogs. But experts wonder how greatly dogs can appreciate art.
“Dogs don’t have the ability to look inward, they can only look outward,” said Brandon Fouche, a dog psychologist.
Still, he feels that dogs can enjoy experiencing new things especially if their owners are enthusiastic. Judging by the number of smiles and laughter, people as well as dogs were enjoying the show.
“Dogs have a language which to me is art,” Fouceh said. Human beings should look at it and discern what it means. So, to me, dogs are art.”
dOGUMENTA will run from Sept. 14-23. Dogs are welcome but humans are encouraged to make reservations online. Trainers from the Los Angeles Positive Dog Trainer Alliance will be onsite during exhibit hours. On Sundays, LA Animal Services will be onsite form 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with adoptable dogs.
The exhibit is located at FIGat7th, 735 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles. It is located one block from the 7th Street Metro Station where the Red/Purple and Blue/Expo lines stop.