Petiquette: Are Pets Acceptable at Art Fairs?

With dogs underfoot at the Hamptons fairs, we review Dos and Dont's of pet-toting.

Beth Rudin DeWoody, David Croland, and a pampered pup named Rooz attend the Parrish Art Museum Midsummer Party. Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com.

Beth Rudin DeWoody, David Croland, and a pampered pup named Rooz attend the Parrish Art Museum Midsummer Party.
Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com.

While enjoying the best of the Hamptons art scene this past weekend, we noticed an interesting, if absurd, trend: pets attending art fairs, openings, and even galas. While this is nothing new in Hollywood, where any starlet worth her tabloid photos has a pooch tucked under her arm, it’s a jarring sight when also in the presence of priceless (or very expensive) works of art. But, a trend is a trend, and we understand that hardcore “pet people” don’t take kindly to being told their loyal companions are worth anything less than a human (especially if said pet people are about to, or already did, drop some serious dough). So, here are some pointers for those with art-loving animals that don’t want to miss out on the action.

Don’t: Argue with event staff.
Former PULSE Art Fair director Cornell DeWitt told artnet News that often, especially in New York City, there are intense rules and regulations about animals in the presence of food. Since most art fairs offer refreshments, they could be risking their food-service permit by letting animals in. If this is the case, don’t cause a big stink. After all, how would you feel if other fairgoers had to starve simply so you could whisk Fifi around with you all day?

Do: Let people pet your pup.
An adorable animal in a public place is going to cause a certain degree of commotion. Be honest: that’s part of why you like having it. So don’t be taken aback when strangers want to ooh and ahh over your fluffy ball of joy. Pets are, above all, an excellent conversation starter.

Do: Make sure to take your pet to the bathroom from time to time, preferably away from the art.
When investigating petiquette policies, we were told a story that is both disturbing and hilarious. Several years ago a well-known art critic (and pet-toting trendsetter) brought his dog to an art fair. He found himself in a booth with a lot of avant garde work that he didn’t particularly care for. Apparently, neither did his pompous pup, because she relieved herself all over the booth. The critic’s response? “Well, now you know how she feels about the work.”

Don’t: Buy your dog a seat at the dinner table.
Okay, so we haven’t heard accounts of this happening yet, but we’d really like to nip it in the bud before it does. Please do not purchase $1,000-plus gala dinner tickets for your animal. It’s called a “doggie bag” for a reason.

Do: Gussy her up.
If you’re wearing a couture gown, shouldn’t your most prized accessory be dressed to kill as well? Try a bejeweled collar, a sumptuous leather leash, or this Louis Vuitton canine carrier. Yes, they also make doggie-sized tiaras, but we feel that’s a bit overkill. Unless it’s the Met Ball, and we’re pretty sure there are no pets allowed at the Met Ball, no matter how much you donate.

Don’t: Be anonymous.
If a photographer snaps a pic of you and your pet, kindly share your name as well as that of your furry friend (see the photo above, for example). After all, Karl Lagerfeld’s cat has almost 40,000 Twitter followers, so don’t let anyone tell you that four-legged socialites are not a thing.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share