SAAM’s Best Friends: Animals in Art and at Home
Hello from my living room, which is doubling as my office. My beloved—and very vocal—dog, Penelope, is not happy about this arrangement. She does not like this “working” habit, and considers my laptop her competition. We at the Smithsonian American Art Museum have been thinking about what this intersection of home and work means for many people around the world, and how that relates to our work at a museum.
We’re thankful to be able to stay connected, and it seems that each meeting begins or ends with a gentle, “and…how are you doing?”
Often the response mentions a beloved companion animal. An admission that our dog has been a wonderful distraction, or how the cat would appreciate a bit of alone time (or, is surprisingly attentive). As we join a video chat, sometimes a small squawk will interrupt and prompt a flurry of “Ooh, who has a bird? Will you show us?” We’re all getting a glimpse into the sometimes secret lives of our colleagues. Pets, yes, but also children who need a little homework help—or a hug—or perhaps a suggestion that someone has a green thumb as evidenced by a collection of houseplants in a corner or a flower-filled bower outside a window.
Because at SAAM everything eventually comes back to American art, some of us have been inspired to model our sweet, sassy, bored, annoyed, sleepy, amusing pets after favorite artworks in our collection. We offer them as amusement and inspiration, and as evidence of the creativity and sense of humor we appreciate in one another.
We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our lives, and we invite you to capture your dog / cat / bird / fish / horse / plant / rock in an homage to a favorite artwork. Tag us on social media with @AmericanArt and #atSAAM.
We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our lives, and we invite you to capture your dog/cat/bird/fish/plant/rock in an homage to a favorite artwork. Tag us on social media with @AmericanArt and #atSAAM.
In addition to Amy Fox, Jessica McFadden, Luce Foundation Center Program Specialist, contributed to this blog post.