dogfeature

Sculptor Poren Huang’s First U.S. Exhibit:
How To See “The Dog’s Notes”

I was fortunate to be able to attend the opening reception for Poren Huang‘s debut U.S.A. exhibit, The Dog’s Notes, on November 7th, which was a lovely little event. A diverse crowd, including various people from the art world, neighborhood hipster types, a few babes in arms, and one real live dog, enjoyed champagne (well, except for the dog and the babies) and the first chance for us locals to see this acclaimed Taiwanese artist’s sculptures. Mr. Huang was in attendance, and although he does not speak English, he gave a gracious and welcoming speech to the assembled group with the assistance of a translator.

His work puts me somewhat in mind of Jeff Koons, somewhat in mind of Tom Otterness, and somewhat in mind of Keith Haring, but it has a certain quality of its own…a playfulness, and an optimism that is hard to resist. Mr. Huang is inspired by dogs, and what’s more, believes that dogs can and should teach and inspire all of us; indeed, he finds more admirable in dogs than in many human beings.

***  

d1

***

The exhibit is worth checking out.  A few pieces I particularly liked were “Home,” a bronze dog from 2005, staring at his dinner bowl, “Friends,” a bronze dog and a panda shaking hands, from 2008, and a gold foil piece from 2007, “Sticking to my Post.”  Some of his work elides the differences between dogs and humans, as he melds the two, and attempts to reveal the relationship between our species.  Mr. Huang’s family has raised dogs for generations, and his personal record is raising 20 dogs simultaneously; I think that makes it safe to call him an expert.  In any case, his love of dogs shines through, so if you are a dog person (or if you are an art person), I recommend you make a visit to see the show.

***

d2

***

If you’re coming from Manhattan, just take the L train out to Williamsburg. It’s about a ten-minute walk from the Bedford Avenue stop to the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center (the WAH Center). Founded by Yuko Nii back in 1996, the WAH Center is located in the former Kings County Savings Bank (an architectural gem, landmarked, and sadly in great need of restoration). The exterior alone is worth the walk, but go inside and up some alarming looking stairs to get to The Dog’s Notes.

After you’ve had your fill of the dog sculptures, if you’re hungry, you can do far worse than heading to the Peter Luger Steakhouse across the way. (Be advised: the portions are enormous. The cost is also enormous.) With a belly full of steak and a mind full of art, you might as well walk back to Manhattan, so burn some of those calories off while enjoying the view over the Williamsburg Bridge.

If a vast quantity of red meat isn’t to your liking, just walk north a few blocks on Bedford Avenue and you will find an incredible variety of restaurants, shops, bars, and cafes. Be sure to stop in at Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers to find something to read on the subway back to Manhattan; they specialize in books about art and design, so perhaps you can take a little inspiration home with you.

The Dog’s Notes won’t be around long; it’s only in Brooklyn through December 6th. See it while you can!

***

d3
Poren Huang with one of his creations.

***

Images Courtesy of Poren Huang

***

Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com