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Dog Days: Artists Unleashed at Berkshire Botanical Garden

Rural Intelligence StyleA new exhibition opening this weekend promises to be as amusing as the garden sheds show that was here earlier this season. This time Matt Larkin, the show’s curator, has invited a dozen art and design superstars to take something humble and make it into something that is not just special, but recognizably each artist’s own—a signature piece.  The challenge is to turn a handful of willow whips into a dog form, then put it in a pot and add plants that will grow throughout the season.  The resulting oversized topiary canines will be grouped throughout the Garden. where they will continue to grow (and frolic) through Labor Day.

The featured artists and designers come from widely disparate disciplines.  Cynthia Atwood is a textile designer; Tom Borgese does floral arrangements for Martha Stewart Omnimedia;  Susan Spencer Crowe fabricates objects from polychrome metal; artist Michael Gellatly is known for his erotic botanicals; Ryan Humphrey, whose BMX (bicycle motocross) sculpture has been shown at the Whitney Museum, did a recent star turn on Bravo’s “Top Design”;  Stephan Lanphear, is the tattoo artist who, in 2002 fought to legalize his art in Massachusetts; and Mitch Nash is the product development whiz behind Blue Q.

The show’s opening celebration this Saturday will include an afternoon of pooch-related programs, with experts—a veterinarian, a groomer, a trainer, and someone from the Humane Society —on hand to share wisdom and advice.  There will be a panel discussion and a question-and-answer period followed by obedience training demonstrations. There will be stuff to buy—hot dogs and tofu pups to eat and all of the dog topiaries are for sale to benefit the Garden.  Understandably, it is requested that those attending leave their own dogs at home.
Berkshire Botanical Garden
Opening reception, Saturday, July 17, 3 - 5 p.m.

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