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Exhibitions | Online

In the Company of Animals: Art, Literature, and Music
March 2 through May 20, 2012

David Hockney image
David Hockney, b. 1937
Boodgie and Stanley, 1993
Black wax crayon
Thaw Collection

Omnis mundi creatura
Quasi liber et pictura
Nobis est et speculum.

Every creature of the world
Is like a book and a picture
To us and a mirror.

-Alan of Lille (Twelfth Century)

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote that "animals are good to think with." This exhibition examines the ways in which the artists, writers, and composers represented in the Morgan's collection used animals to think and create. What does the portrayal of animals in images, words, and music reveal about companionship, meaning, and morality? About science, beauty, and truth?

Multimedia: Animal Companions and the Creative Life

Emma Straub video thumbnail
Emma Straub on Cats and Writing

William Wegman on Dogs and Photography

Michael Hearst on Animals and Music

From Flush, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's cocker spaniel, to Boodgie and Stanley, David Hockney's dachshunds, animals have served as beloved companions to countless artists and authors. With these relationships in mind, we visited three artists in their workspaces, writer Emma Straub, photographer William Wegman, and composer Michael Hearst, and invited them to reflect on the bond between artists and animals: Are animals worthwhile subjects? What roles do companion animals play in a life devoted to the imagination? What do our relationships with animals reveal about ourselves?

In the Company of Animals is organized by Clara Drummond, Assistant Curator at The Morgan Library & Museum.

This exhibition is supported by a generous gift from Tina Santi Flaherty, in honor of her faithful companions Jackie, a white Labrador retriever, and Scarlett, a King Charles spaniel.

Additional assistance is provided by the Janine Luke and Melvin R. Seiden Fund for Exhibitions and Publications, and by Jeannette and Jonathan P. Rosen.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.