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Meet Pickle, the Dog Taking Over the New York City Art Scene

By Savannah Cox | July 23, 2015 7:28am | Updated on July 23, 2015 6:46pm
 Pickle poses before artwork at art gallery Mesler Feuer.
Pickle poses before artwork at art gallery Mesler Feuer.
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Savannah Cox/DNAinfo

Meet Pickle, the 4-year-old French bulldog whose discerning taste in art has garnered her thousands of admirers on social media and increasingly in New York City art circles.

When the Bushwick resident is not sniffing out talent in her own neighborhood, Pickle frequents galleries throughout the city with her owner, art adviser and New York native Katie Howard.

While Howard, 30, has been active in the art world for years, Pickle's ascension to dog celebrity status is relatively recent.

"It's my job to know what art's out there, which means that I'm out of the house two to four days a month for five or six hours exploring all of Chelsea or the LES. I didn't want to leave Pickle alone, so she became this perfect companion," Howard said.

"It took a while before I started taking pictures of her with the art, but for the most part it's been really well received."

The art dog has become something of a household name in many local galleries, and has since met a number of well-known artists, including Hank Willis Thomas, N. Dash and Mark Dion.

"The thing about Pickle is that she genuinely does love art," said Alexandra King of the new Lower East Side gallery Lyles & King.

"How many dogs could you bring into a gallery, and they wouldn't destroy stuff? Pickle just gets it. She makes herself at home wherever she goes," King said.

What's next for Pickle? Now that the White House has lifted its ban on camera use during public tours, Howard said Pickle hopes to one day meet Michelle Obama and admire the home's art collection.

Pickle and Howard recently invited DNAinfo New York to follow the duo as they toured some galleries in the Lower East Side, a neighborhood that Howard says Pickle appreciates for the way it blends up-and-coming and established artists in one space. Pickle provides her takes on the exhibitions below:

Mesler Feuer, 30 Orchard St.

Naked Lunch

Pickle’s Take: Pickle observed the colorful works of Jane Corrigan, Meredith James, Dasha Shishkin and Gloria Maximo, as well as the portrait series by Jack Featherly. A fan of Beat Generation authors, Pickle was drawn to Featherly’s Unpatterned11, above, which incorporates text to compose writer William S. Burroughs’ face and the title of one of his most famous novels.

The exhibits Pickle visited run until July 31.

Room East, 41 Orchard Street

Ceramic Skeleton

Pickle’s Take: Pickle contemplated humanity in an exhibition called “The Crack Up,” the name of which is based on an essay collection by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Pickle appreciated the way the featured artists used humor and “failed” design (as seen in the cracked ceramic skeleton above) to remind the viewer that, as Room East explains: “If life is a series of failures, pieced together by our optimism, then failure is as essential as the hard-beaten path to success.”

Visitors can view “The Crack Up” through Aug. 15.    

Denny Gallery, 261 Broome Street


Pickle’s Take: Pickle enjoyed immersing herself in “real-life” Wikipedia via an exhibition called “From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!” While no longer running, the exhibit featured work from Michael Mandiberg’s Print Wikipedia series, an interactive commentary on the scale of big data and the rapid accumulation of human knowledge.

Pickle looks forward to returning to Denny Gallery to view “Metamodern,” a group exhibition which runs until Aug. 29.

► Simon Preston Gallery, 301 Broome Street


Pickle’s Take: Pickle beheld “Grand Illusion,” an exhibition which looks at how we “see” in surveillance societies. As seen above, Will Boone’s industrial mic stand I-V captivated Pickle, especially when a gallerist informed her that the black bar in front symbolized Elvis Presley.

Visitors can view the “Grand Illusion” until Aug. 8.

Lyles & King, 106 Forsyth Street

Lyles Portrait

Pickle’s Take: Pickle took in the rich tones and textures of Lyles & King’s “Inaugural” exhibition, which featured the work of six primarily New York-based artists.

Pickle’s experience at the gallery was enhanced when gallery co-owner Alexandra King showered her with hugs and compliments, even comparing Pickle to business man and renown art collector Charles Saatchi in terms of her artistic insight.

Pickle was particularly taken by the shapes and smells emerging from the Borden Capalino piece, Birthday Girl (above), which featured cow hooves, knuckles and sheep bone in the three-dimensional painting. She hopes to return to the gallery for its latest exhibition, "Guts," which runs until Aug. 21.