Pickle loves a good selfie. The French bulldog has taken pictures in front of Richard Serra’s sculpture Equal, DeWain Valentine’s luminous polyester resin work from the 70s, Circle Amber-Rose, and in front of paint at a studio visit with artist Trudy Benson. “She really loves floor sculptures that she can sniff and figure out. She is really respectful of the artworks, but she always wants to know what it is,” says Pickle’s owner, Katie Howard.
Howard herself is an art advisor, and her husband is artist Nat Ward. Of Pickle's philanthropy, she explains: “We just didn't like the idea of leaving her alone when we didn't need to. So for years before this project started she was around and involved in the art world."
“The idea really started and became a serious project after we went to a group show that Korakrit Arundonchai was in at the Suzanne Geiss Company. One of Krit's works was a runway that everyone was supposed to be using, but no one was, so we put Pickle on it, and then someone put their baby on it! Everyone started taking photos, it was a wonderful moment.”
Since then, Pickle has become a fixture in the art world. During Frieze New York, Pickle staged a protest because the art fair would not allow pets in to see the art (Read: New York's Frieze Fair Is All About Interactive Art). “We were just so warmly welcomed at the Armory and then Frieze wouldn't return my requests for a press pass and rejected us at the door. I still wanted to show that we went, so I did it in the cutest way I knew how,” explains Howard. She posted a picture of Pickle to Instagram where she could be seen sitting next to a picket sign.
“She loves anything that resembles dog toys,” Howard tells the Daily Beast. Recently the dog took over the Jewish Museum’s Instagram account. Howard staged photos of Pickle featuring the museum’s collection and staff. Pickle's Instagram, Pickle Beholding, grew to over 5,000 users. Then, Howard put out an ad asking for an intern to help assist her with the project. “We are currently working on a few things, including a brand collaboration with Love Thy Beast,“ says Howard. “Love Thy Beast creates these fabulous canvas dog carriers that we are commissioning artists to design. Think of it like the ubiquitous art world tote bag that you can carry your dog in,” she adds.
Currently, Howard is working on a coffee table book featuring Pickle beholding art, and has created the hashtag, #friendsofpickle, to encourage others to bring their dogs to art shows as well. To see more of Pickle, click here.