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Laumeier Sculpture Park Exhibit Explores the Complex Dog-Human Relationship
William Wegman, Spelling Lesson, 1973–1974, photo by Mike Venso / Laumeier Sculpture Park.
ST. LOUIS, MO.- Laumeier Sculpture Park presents an exhibition that examines the complex intersection between our human behavior and that of our domesticated partners. Dog Days of Summer features the work of ten artists spanning nearly three centuries in both the indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces at Laumeier. The show explores the relationship between humans and canines as depicted in visual art, from an 18th century drawing to a 21st century site specific installation. The mutual impact humans and dogs have had on each other over time is a particular focus.

“Dog Days of Summer continues Laumeier Sculpture Park’s on-going investigation of the ‘archaeology of place’,” said Marilu Knode, the exhibition co-curator and Laumeier’s Executive Director and the Aronson Endowed Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “As one of only two accredited museums in the United States that allows dogs, Laumeier is an ideal museum to produce a show that is both playful and serious.” Research for the show began in 2009. The results of visitor studies, which showed that more than 20 percent of Laumeier’s visitors come with their dog, were highly influential in the development of the exhibition.

“All the breeds I see at Laumeier, from Teacup Poodles to Great Danes, are descended from a common ancestor—the wolf,” said Kim Humphries, the exhibition co-curator and Laumeier’s former Director of Exhibitions and Collections. “Millennia of evolution have domesticated the dog which has become so deeply intertwined in our lives it is only natural that they have found their way into our artwork.”

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a commissioned dog trail by Finnish artist Tea Mäkipää, who has worked with a range of experts from St. Louis and elsewhere to create a multi-sensory experience for both canine and human visitors along Laumeier’s Nature Trail. Mäkipää’s six interactive “stations” highlight the ways in which our four-legged friends “read,” and experience, the outdoors. The exhibition includes work by contemporary artists Robert Chambers (USA), Jeff Koons (USA), Maria Lindberg
(Sweden) and William Wegman (USA), as well as historic works by Richard Cosway, Edwin Megargee and others on loan from the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog. Concurrently, videos by William Wegman will also be screened Sunday-Friday evenings between June 26 and August 31, 2011 at Citygarden in downtown St. Louis.



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