Tel Aviv is clearly going to the dogs. Or maybe the city just loves them.
The Tel Aviv Museum of Art recently unveiled a new marble statue by sculptor Zohar Gotesman, dedicated to canines and their sometimes aggressive behavior in their efforts to be top dog.
Called “Dog Dish,” the four-ton fountain is a pyramid of 50 dogs chiseled from white marble, featuring breeds from hefty bulldogs and jowly breeds to slim dachshunds and tiny Chihauhuas, mouths open to release small streams of water.
The art work is meant to be a wine fountain, said Ellen Ginton, a senior curator at the museum, and there was red wine poured when the fountain was first placed in the Neta Garden, a small courtyard annexing the main and new buildings of the museum.
Now there’s just water spilling out of the dog’s mouths, although Gotesman is planning to add some color to the water to make it appear like wine, said Ginton.
Surrounding the sculpture are marble benches, carved in the shape of giant dog bones, as well as umbrellas and planted shrubs, offering some shade during the hot Tel Aviv days.
This isn’t necessarily a happy dog park, however.
The “Dog Dish” canines are not gentle, restful animals, but rather appear to be chasing and barking after one another, with the Chihuahua standing on top of the pyramid.
The canines are reminiscent of gargoyles, those carved, architectural elements with a spout designed to move water from a roof and away from the side of a building.
“They’re tearing into each other,” said Ginton, “but it’s also lighthearted and happy.”
Gotesman spent months working on the sculpture, first creating individual dogs as studies for the larger work, and hand carving all the statues from Carrera marble, brought from Italy.
“It’s art of another time,” said Ginton, “a different kind of craftsmanship.”