The National Museum of Animal Art (NMWA) will open For the love of canines, an exhibition dedicated to wild canines, on Saturday October 22, 2022. The exhibition questions the relationship and fascination of humans with canines, whether in love or disgust, through works of art from the permanent collection of the NMWA and will be open until September 30, 2023.
“The subject of canids will touch many visitors,” says museum director Steve Seamons. “Many of us live with dogs, or at least see them daily. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to display pieces that haven’t been on display recently. With over 5,000 works in the permanent collection of the Museum, we are always striving to rotate new works through the galleries for the public to enjoy.
Wild dogs, including foxes, coyotes, and wolves, have had significant social and cultural significance to humans around the world throughout history. However, there are conflicting emotional opinions regarding these familiar predators. Foxes, for example, although prized for their beauty and cunning, are often looked down upon for preying on small livestock, such as chickens and ducks. Coyotes nearly became extinct during Western colonization and are also part of the cosmology of some indigenous cultures; sometimes considered a creator, Coyote can also be mean or jester. Yet the one thing all wild dogs have in common is a genetic relationship to our own beloved domestic dogs.
“I first chose this theme of canines to complete Wolves: Photograph by Ronan Donovansays art curator Tammi Hanawalt, Ph.D. I couldn’t stop thinking about my own dogs. There is, of course, a connection between wild dogs and our pets – genetically and emotionally. Domestic dogs share over 90% of the same DNA as wolves and in comparison, wolves and dogs have similar play patterns and affection for each other. Hanawalt continued, “but all wild canids are also predators that we compete with. For the love of canines explores human/canine relationships through artwork from the 19th century to the present day to take a closer look at diverse perceptions about the four-legged creatures we call both friend and foe.
For the love of canines is generously sponsored by Val and Dick Beck, Halloran, Farkas and Kittila LLP, MJ Hunt and Bernie Little, Adrienne and John Mars, Tally and Bill Mingst, Singleton Peery and Wyoming Arts Council.