Contemporary art exhibition just for dogs opens in London—British artist Dominic Wilcox has created a series of interactive, contemporary art installations for dogs to enjoy
- Exhibition commissioned by MORE TH>N as part of its #PlayMore campaign which encourages people to spend more time playing with their pets
- Each work of art for dogs is based on an activity they love to do Installations include a giant ball pit dog bowl, an open car window simulator and a series of paintings created in a dog’s colour spectrum
- Tickets have already sold out for the exhibition will run from 19-20 August, in Tanner Street, South London.
They say art is for everyone, and while this may be true, the ‘everyone’ mentioned here traditionally refers only to humans. With pets assuming an ever more important role in our lives, isn’t it time that the art world catered to them as well? Well now it has, courtesy of the world’s first contemporary art exhibition just for dogs, which opens today.
Healthier pets through play
The exhibition has been created as part of MORE TH>N’s #PlayMore campaign, which encourages owners to spend more time playing with their pet, while also inspiring them to find new ways to ensure they stay emotionally happy and physically healthy.
The unique art exhibition for dogs has been commissioned by MORE TH>N pet insurance and created by renowned British artist and inventor, Dominic Wilcox. Wilcox was challenged to create a series of contemporary works made specifically for the enjoyment of man’s best friend that wouldn’t look out of place in the Tate Modern.
Included among the exhibits for dogs are:
- Cruising Canines—an open car window simulator where a giant fan wafts a dog’s favourite scents (such as raw meat and old shoes) through the air as a trio of dogs pop their heads through the windows of a pop art style car; and
- Dinnertime Dreams—an oversized 10ft dog bowl filled to the brim with over 1,000 play balls made to look like dog food.
In addition to creating interactive installations for dogs, Dominic Wilcox has also curated a selection of original paintings and multimedia exhibits for dogs to admire by collaborating with a collective of five other British artists1. Each of these works has been created in a dog’s grey-yellow-blue colour spectrum for canines to (figuratively) get their teeth into, all of which are duly displayed at the base of the gallery’s walls to meet a dog’s eye level.
As with many examples of interactive art, the artistic merit of the exhibition stems from its immersive nature, with the art exhibits only deemed fully ‘complete’ when they are being interacted with by happy dogs.
“Contemporary art has long been an important source of inspiration and fascination for humans, but never before has it been created with a view to drawing the same kind of emotions out of animals instead.”Dominic Wilcox Exhibition creative director, artist and inventor
All of the exhibits on show have been grounded in animal science, with consultancy from veterinary experts2 on the type of mental and physical stimuli that are the most beneficial to a dog’s health and wellbeing.
George Lewis, head of pet insurance at MORE TH>N, said:
“At MORE TH>N we’re committed to ensuring pets everywhere get plenty of mental and physical stimulation owing to the important benefits this has on their long-term health and wellbeing. Our #PlayMore Exhibition sets out to celebrate this fact by not only offering an enjoyable form of exertion for dogs, but also helping owners discover new and innovative ways to keep their four-legged friends entertained.”
Exhibition artist and curator, Dominic Wilcox, commented:
“Contemporary art has long been an important source of inspiration and fascination for humans, but never before has it been created with a view to drawing the same kind of emotions out of animals instead. While it’s certainly one of the more interesting challenges I’ve faced in my career, it feels great to have created such a truly unique collection of interactive artworks for a completely new audience. I’m looking forward to seeing how many tail wags I get in approval!”
Full list of exhibits
Dinnertime Dreams (Dominic Wilcox)
In a dog’s life, food and play balls are two things that bring never-ending joy. This interactive sculpture brings the two together as a real-life version of a dog's dream—a giant sized dog bowl filled with food to frolic in.
Cruising Canines (Dominic Wilcox)
Dogs love sticking their head outside the car window as it races along to get a blast of the different smells on offer. This simulator recreates the experience using a 2D car cut-out with windows for a dog to stick their head through. A giant fan that encloses various objects—from steak to old trainers—then blows those tantalising scents across the car for them to enjoy.
Watery Wonder (Dominic Wilcox)
Dogs and water are a match made in canine heaven. This installation features a series of dancing water jets that jump from one dog water bowl to the next for dogs to chase.
Catch (Nick White)
A multimedia installation that simulates a frisbee bouncing around a screen designed to captivate dogs.
The exhibition also includes a selection of paintings and drawings for dogs by various artists, including:
- Scent Satisfaction (Clare Mallison): a woodland scene created using only colours dogs can see;
- POST (Joanne Hummel-Newell): an artist’s interpretation of a dog’s excitement when letters fall through the letterbox;
- Drumstick Park (Robert Nicol): a park scene that envisages chicken drumsticks being as dog’s point of reference; and
- Field (Michelle Thompson): a visual representation of a dog’s movements while out on a walk.
Notes for editors
1. About the artists
- Dominic Wilcox works between the worlds of art, design, craft and technology to create innovative and thought provoking objects.
- Clare Mallison is a talented illustrator, based in Hackney, who’s style is free flowing and completely uncontrived. Her subjects cover anything from buildings, people, animals and for the last five years, food for The Times newspaper.
- Michelle Thompson has been at the forefront of illustration since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1996. She has worked successfully in publishing, editorial and design. Her illustrations have appeared internationally, most notably in The Guardian, The Sunday Times magazine, The Washington Post, New Statesman, The Museum of London and many more.
- Nick White is an artist and lecturer, based in London. He primarily uses pencils, graphite, coloured pencils, pens, dip pen and ink, gouache, collage/ found imagery and print making to create his unique works.
- Paul Blow is an illustrator who works and lives in the Dorset town of Bridport. Employing bold colours he creates images that are as entertaining and thought provoking as they are delightful to look at. His work has appeared internationally in numerous projects for editorial clients, advertising agencies and design firms.
- Robert Nicol is a graduate of the Glasgow school of Art, the Royal College of Art and the Institute of Education. Robert enjoys recurrent themes of the figure in the landscape, fear, existence, construction, human society, humour and the surreal.
- Joanne Hummel-Newell trained at the Royal College of Art London, and Kingston University Surrey. Recent selected exhibitions and short lists include WW Gallery collateral exhibition at the 53rd Venice Biennale, Jerwood Drawing Prize and the RA Summer Exhibition.
2. Vetted by vets
MORE TH>N consulted closely with vet Robert White-Adams on the type of mental and physical stimuli that is beneficial to dogs, with these insights incorporated into the artworks.
3. The MORE TH>N’s #PlayMore campaign
MORE TH>N is calling on dog and cat owners everywhere to make a Play More Pledge to spend an extra 15 minutes a day playing with their dog or cat. For every pledge made MORE TH>N is donating £1 to the RSPCA.