Dogs and Art Galleries

August 12, 2009 at 2:39 pm

What is it with dogs and art galleries?

Back when I worked at an art gallery in Massachusetts, I was allowed (nay, encouraged) to bring my dog to work with me. He became the designated “gallery dog,” one in a long line of previous gallery dogs.

Barbara J Carter's dog Jesse at the fscottgallery

Barbara J Carter's dog Jesse at the fscottgallery

At the time, I thought this was just the gallery owner being quirky. Little did I know.

After I moved to Southern California, I had occasion to stop by an art gallery with a friend and my dog in tow. I ducked into the gallery, leaving pooch and friend waiting outside. But the owner immediately invited me to bring the dog (and the friend) in. Later, we attended a reception at this gallery and had to watch out where we placed our feet lest we trample the two large dogs sprawled in the middle of the floor.

In spite of this, somehow I still didn’t twig to the ubiquity of the phenomenon. Every time I went to an art gallery and had my dog (and friend) with me, I always left them outside. And every time, I was informed that both 2-feet and 4-feet were equally welcome to enter the gallery. And every time, I was surprised.

OK, so I’m a bit slow. Apparently dogs are universally allowed into art galleries. Just a couple weeks ago my gentleman friend and I (sans dog this time) stopped into Ace Gallery in Beverly Hills to see the amazing paintings by Gary Lang. While there we got a chance to pat a friendly terrier. Yup, dogs and galleries just go together.

I still find it weird, though. I mean, this is the United States of Nanny State, where dogs are considered so dirty they’re not even allowed at open-air farmer’s markets or California State Parks*. They’re tolerated at outdoor cafes, but certainly never in bars or restaurants like you might see in Europe.

Why do dogs and galleries go together? I don’t know! But I like it. Woof!

* Don’t let me get started on California State Parks! Oy!

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Entry filed under: Gallery.

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Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

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Follow me on Twitter: @barbarajcarter

Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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