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New Yorkers, their dogs and a visit to the museum

Some of the Museum  visitors on a Furry Friday night.
Some of the Museum visitors on a Furry Friday night.
(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

New Yorkers love their dogs and they’re not the only ones.  A tourist couple from Toronto walked there from the hotel with their Sheba Emu, a visitor from Iowa brought her Burmese rescue, and some buddies hopped a cab from the west side with their canine best friends—all to visit the Museum of the Dog on a Furry Friday night.  

The Museum of the Dog returned to New York after a 30-year hiatus in St. Louis, settling in a light-infused space on 40th Street where it showcases the art collection of the American Kennel Club, offers digital/interactive experiences,  holds special events and more. 

While a dog classic portrait might seem kitsch when shown in a traditional art museum, these works present themselves as dignified and monumental when shown exclusively among other similar pieces.  

An Airdale, Poodle, Golden Retriever, Lurcher, Schipperke, Salukis, Sealyham Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Mastiff, Pointer, Bloodhound, and English Foxhound are among the many breeds portrayed in 19th century portraits. 

Unknown artist painted these breeds.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

A 1993-commissioned painting, a tribute to Robert Bishop, 14-year director of Museum of American Folk Art and Dog Museum supporter, is a delightful folk art portrayal of public life, New Yorkers and their dogs.  Fifth Avenue/59th St./Pulitzer Fountain (across from The Plaza) is where artist Kathy Jakobsen sets her subjects—the multitude of people and dog activities taking place on sidewalks and New York streets. She includes many Dobermans and Manchester Terriers, Bishop’s preferred breeds. 

The first President Bush’s English Springer Spaniel Millie, and George W. Bush’s Scotties—Barney and Miss Beagley are among the presidential dog portraits. 

On display is a selection of DOGNY, a public art initiative, born out of the incredible post-September 11 search and rescue dogs. Commissioned artists painted over 100 life-sized sculptures of a German Shepherd Dog in honor of the incredible work of these dogs and their handlers. Each dog has its own special design.

A gal and her dog on Furry Friday.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Bronze statues and porcelain miniatures are also among the three-dimensional works. 

Judith Rahilly traveled from Jersey City to visit the museum last week, on a Furry Friday night, when dogs are welcomed.  

She loved the interactive dog training display and the community wall showing off the public-created artwork produced in the library area. “What subject could be more noble and alternatively adorable than a dog depicted in paintings and sculptures,” she says.

Readily admitting she adds, “The live dogs really were a great part.”  

The Museum also has a very extensive shop carrying numerous dog-themed gifts, from children’s books, charms, to men’s ties adorned with dog images. Its Furry Friday evenings are so popular that the Museum now is open to dogs two Fridays a month. Reservations needed. 

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