Group exhibition

'The Dog Show'

Goofy gait, wagging tail, floppy ears — these charming characteristics form the focus of The Dog Show, an exhibition that brings together artworks from the SCAD Museum of Art Permanent Collection and the university’s Don Bluth Animation Collection. Like its kennel club competition namesake, The Dog Show presents images of dogs that are serious studies of movement and physique. The works on view range in medium, from life drawing and portrait painting to animation, photography, and film, and reveal the ways in which humans interpret, project onto, and understand the expressive nature of dogs.  

Signature image for The Dog Show exhibition
William Wegman, "Frieze," 2000, large-format Polaroid prints, 30 x 110 in. SCAD Museum of Art Permanent Collection.

The installation centers on Eadweard Muybridge’s canine locomotion study, part of a larger body of experimental photography from the 1800s in which Muybridge exposed how the illusion of motion is created via a rapid succession of images, using his own invented photographic process. In this study, Muybridge captures the liminal moment mid-gallop in which a dog is completely airborne, stressing the significance of distilling a perceived experience into its most basic sequences to fully understand the overall phenomenon.

Throughout the exhibition, the visual format of Muybridge’s freeze frames recurs in renderings of dogs by contemporary artists William Wegman, Saul Steinberg, Elliott Erwitt, and Don Bluth, among others. Viewed together in this context, the artworks highlight our human inclination to attribute feelings and emotions to even the most subtle movements and gesticulations, which in turn make the ever-affectionate dog both the ideal specimen and companion. Ultimately, The Dog Show displays the awesomeness of dogs in action, providing signals and clues into their mysterious interior lives in the most human attempts to fathom the dog’s wondrous mind and boundless heart.

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The Dog Show is organized by SCAD Museum of Art assistant curator Brittany Richmond.

More on view