Apropos of the waning days, aka dog days of summer, the Long Island Museum will present “Dog Days: Portraits of Man’s Best Friend,” an exhibition of artistic renderings of our canine companions. Featuring watercolors, oils and photographs of our furry, four-legged friends, the show, which starts Friday, Aug. 11, and lasts until Dec. 30, will include several programs to accompany it through the run.
The ubiquity of dogs in art corresponds to their close relationship with people through the years, says assistant curator John Olly, who organized the show for the museum. “Dogs are a part of everyone’s lives here on Long Island, whether or not you own one,” Olly says. “They appear in our streets, shops, parks and even on the LIRR on occasion.”
With works dating from 1828 to 1969, the exhibit features notable Long Island paintings, including William Sidney Mount’s “Esquimaux Dog” (1859), in which a royal-looking Canadian Eskimo dog strikes a noble pose on a chair while a girl reads in the background. William Moore Davis’ “On Their Way to the Dance” (undated) shows a boy, a man with a stringed instrument and a dog heading to a dance. “Boy With Dog at Woodshed” (also undated) depicts two boys who’ve just found a dog that broke loose from the copper kettle to which it had been tied. Alexander Kruse’s 1969 “Bicycle Parking, Fire Island,” featuring a person walking a dog, was painted by the artist at the age of 81.
Spanning two centuries of canine and human interaction, “Dog Days” also shows the history of this very special relationship. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dogs were used for fox hunting and for protection. Over time, as our pooches have taken a more companionable place in our homes and hearts, the artwork reflects these cultural changes over the years.
Dogs in art have rarely been the main subject of paintings, notes Olly. “They’re usually accompanying people as they work, play, participate in competitions or hunt. But the popularization of studio and personal photography in the 20th century brought dogs to the center of the picture,” he says.
On Thursday, Aug. 17, the museum will invite families to stay a little longer, pack a picnic and enjoy music on the lawn by the Cuomo Family Band (no relation). Rescue dogs will be on hand, as well as teens from the Middle Country Public Library’s Mutt Club, who work with animal rescue groups. Children are invited to bring their own cuddly, stuffed pooches. The exhibition will remain open later that day and admission is free 6 to 8 p.m.
WHAT “Dog Days: Portraits of Man’s Best Friend”
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 30, Long Island Museum, 1200 Rte. 25A, Stony Brook
INFO $10, $7 seniors, $5 students; 631-751-0066, longislandmuseum.org
‘Averson’s America’ at Guild Hall
WHAT Guild Hall presents “Avedon’s America,” featuring 50 years of evocative black-and-white works by Richard Avedon, one of the pre-eminent photographers of the 20th century. Covering key figures in literature and the visual and performing arts as well as newsmakers who helped shape events, ideas and the cultural discourse of our country, Avedon’s lens offers a striking up-close perspective into American celebrity. Subjects on view include Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Malcolm X, Janis Joplin, William F. Buckley Jr. and John Cage.
WHEN | WHERE Saturday, Aug. 12, through Oct. 9, Guild Hall, 158 Main St., East Hampton
INFO Free; 631-324-0806, guildhall.org