New Yorkers, their dogs and a visit to the museum

New Yorkers love their dogs and they’re not alone. A tourist couple from Toronto walked there from the hotel with their Sheba Emu, a visitor from Iowa rescued her Burmese and some pals hopped in a West Side taxi with their best canine pals – all for visiting the Dog Museum on a Furry Friday night.

The Museum of the Dog has returned to New York after a 30-year hiatus in St. Louis, settling in a light-filled space at 40and Street where it showcases the American Kennel Club’s art collection, offers digital/interactive experiences, hosts special events and more.

While a classic dog portrait may look kitsch when displayed in a traditional art museum, these works come across as dignified and monumental when presented exclusively among other similar pieces.

An Airdale, Poodle, Golden Retriever, Lurcher, Schipperke, Salukis, Sealyham Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Mastiff, Pointer, Bloodhound and English Foxhound are among the many breeds represented in 19and portraits of the century.

An unknown artist painted these breeds.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

A painting commissioned in 1993, a tribute to Robert Bishop, director of the Museum of American Folk Art and supporter of the Dog Museum for 14 years, is a delightful folk art portrayal of public life, New Yorkers and their dogs. Fifth Avenue/59and The St./Pulitzer Fountain (across from The Plaza) is where artist Kathy Jakobsen defines her subjects – the multitude of people and canine activity taking place on the sidewalks and streets of New York City. It includes many Dobermans and Manchester Terriers, Bishop’s favorite breeds.

The English Springer Spaniel Millie of the first President Bush and the Scotties of George W. Bush – Barney and Miss Beagley are among the presidential dog portraits.

A selection of DOGNY is on display, a public art initiative, born out of the amazing search and rescue dogs after 9/11. Commissioned artists have painted over 100 life-size sculptures of a German Shepherd Dog in honor of the incredible work of these dogs and their handlers. Each dog has its own special design.

A girl and her dog on Furry Friday.(Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Bronze statues and porcelain miniatures are also part of the three-dimensional works.

Judith Rahilly traveled from Jersey City to visit the museum last week, on a furry Friday night, when dogs are welcome.

She loved the interactive dog training exhibit and the community wall showing the art created by the public and produced in the library area. “What subject could be more noble and otherwise adorable than a dog depicted in paintings and sculptures,” she says.

Gladly admitting, she adds, “The live dogs really played a big role.”

The museum also has a very extensive shop with lots of dog-themed gifts, from children’s books, to charms to men’s ties adorned with dog images. Its Furry Friday nights are so popular that the Museum is now open to dogs two Fridays a month. Reservations required.