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A Pet

Dec 18, 2023

A mosaic at the 23rd Street subway station by artist William Wegman, known for his photos of ... [+] Weimaraner dogs.

Scrolling through dog videos on your phone never gets old, and a more cultural experience to enjoy all types of pet imagery is on its way to Manhattan.

Contemporary photography museum Fotografiska New York will host a pet-centric fall exhibit, Best in Show: Pets in Contemporary Photography. Opening September 22 and running through January 2024, the expansive exhibit aims to be a joyful celebration of pets and humans’ undying love for them.

Best in Show will feature the work of two dozen artists across two of the museum’s floors. It’s a deep dive into the role furry and feathered friends play in culture and everyday life, and how these pets stand in as representations of status, power, loyalty, compassion, and companionship.

Photos include work by William Wegman, famed for his portraits of his Weimaraners (New Yorkers may recognize his work from the 23rd Street subway station); Walter Chandoha, the world’s first professional cat photographer; Sophie Gamand, known for her touching photographs of dogs taking baths; and Martin Parr's satirical portrayals of pets across social classes. Over 130 works, including documentary photographs, arranged portraits, candid snaps, and video pieces are included.

Outside Fotografiska in New York City.

“During the pandemic, when this exhibition was conceived, pet ownership grew exponentially,” said Sophie Wright, Executive Director of Fotografiska New York. “It’s now rare to walk down a pavement in New York or any big city without passing several dogs and their devoted owners. And that’s not to mention most people’s daily dose of animal videos online—a soothing and often comedic counterpoint to the news cycle. Our mutual dependence leads to the question, who owns whom? This exhibition brings together celebrated New Yorkers such as William Wegman and Elliott Erwitt along with an international roster of contemporary practitioners to explore our relationship to our pets, in all its complexity.”

Along with photos and videos, Best in Show will include several special sections that offer tactile experiences. In one area, a video by artist Leila Jeffreys of birds includes an installation with a bench and trees to mimic the experience of sitting in a park and enjoying nature. Another area will feature a wall covered in faux fur and portraits of people with their animals, offering a contrast between forms.

Artist William Wegman and his Weimaraner in 1995.

The exhibition features 24 artists from around the globe, including six local artists from New York. Artists include Akseli Valmunen, Areca Roe, Carli Davidson, Dolly Faibyshev, Elliott Erwitt, Gerrard Gethings, Heather Phillipson, Hellen van Meene, John Hiltunen, Kári Björn, Leila Jeffreys, Lisa Strömbeck, Martin Parr, Martin Usborne, Ralph Hargarten, Robert Bahou, Robin Schwartz, Sage Sohier, Sophie Gamand, Tim Flach, Visarute Angkatavanich, Walter Chandoha, William Wegman and Winnie Au.

For opening night on Thursday, September 21, Fotografiska members and invited guests can preview Best in Show during an opening night party with bubbly, music, and a special appearance by Maxine the Fluffy Corgi. Additional events throughout the exhibit will include adoption programming with Badass Animal Rescue, Foster Yappy Hours, pet portrait sessions, pet parties and more.

Guests who want to take home their favorite parts of Best in Show can shop Fotografiska’s soon to drop exclusive capsule collection, which will offer accessories for pets, humans and more. Merch will be available in-store and online.