In Bed With Instagram’s Cutest Pup
Miss Pickle is an adorable French bulldog who happens to love art. When she isn’t hanging out at home and sleeping, she’s out and about at some of the city’s best galleries. Her owner (or “pupager”) Katie Howard is an art advisor who captures Pickle’s adventures as she takes over the art world—in NYC and abroad. Witty commentary—and, of course, Miss Pickle herself—has enticed thousands to follow along.
Miss Pickle and her owner joined us at Refinery Hotel to share their story—and treat themselves to slippers, newspapers and other luxuries that come with a dog-friendly hotel.
Leash or no leash?
Hugs or kisses?
Picasso or Van Gogh?
Cats or dogs
Refinery Hotel: Tell us how the idea of Miss Pickle was born.
Katie: My fiancee and I would always take Pickle to galleries when it was appropriate. There was one gallery opening where a work of art was a runway, but no one was walking on it. So, we put Pickle on the runway, and someone put their baby next to her. Pickle and the baby were playing together, and people posted photos on social media. Those photos went “art world viral.” It’s not like real viral, but it was a great moment, and that’s what inspired the project. It took me about six months to build up the courage to move forward: I didn’t want to insult anyone. But all of the major galleries adore this project.
What is it like being the “pupager” to Pickle?
Sometimes it’s strange and bizarre. Over the last six months, she’s gotten so much more recognizable to people. The interactions go from people picking her up without asking to people fan-girling so hard over her. And it’s been great for business. Because of Pickle’s Instagram, I have really great relationships with the majority of galleries in New York. There are galleries where the whole staff will stop their day to say “hi” to Pickle because they love her so much.
The Look: Natori
Do you think she knows that she’s famous?
I think she knows that she’s special.
Do you and Pickle have the same taste when it comes to art?
My personal taste doesn’t always line up with where Pickle looks good. It’s really important to keep the project honest and only work with galleries and artists I believe in. You won’t see street art in what we do, it’s really more focused on the contemporary, fine art world that is very central to New York.
Do you ask the galleries if you can take pictures beforehand?
Always. This is a fun and light-hearted project that’s not meant to upset anyone. I still ask, even though I have relationships with these galleries, because sometimes there are image-rights issues with the artist.
What’s it like a day in the life of Miss Pickle?
I try to minimize the crazy in her life. We really only spend two to four days a month going to galleries. We try to do Chelsea in one day, and the Lower East Side in one day. She’s a dog, and dogs really do sleep most of the day. To have Pickle working six-to-eight-hour days twice in a row is too much for her.
How do you get Pickle to pose for you?
There are very important keywords in her life. [Turning to Pickle, Katie says, “Do you want some cheese? How about some cheese?” Pickle strikes her cutest pose.] She doesn’t respond to squeaky noises or high-pitched sounds. She responds well when people look her in the eye and talk to her like she’s a human.
What are your future plans for Miss Pickle?
They are always evolving. I’d love for this project to become a big, glossy coffee-table book one day. I think it needs a couple more years—not because we don’t have enough images but because I want it to be a nice period of time in the art world. I’d love to translate the project into a series of children’s books, illustrated and written by contemporary artists. We’re doing a brand collaboration right now with Love Thy Beast, and they make lovely canvas dog carriers that look like the tote bag everyone carries around in the art world. We are commissioning artists at different levels in their careers to design tote bags.
Why do you think people follow Miss Pickle?
She’s this weird combination of a goofy animal in a high-brow world that seems unattainable for a lot of people. Because she’s a dog in this world it makes it much more accessible, and I really love that. People will think, if a dog can go to a gallery, I could go to one too. I love to have more people looking at art through Pickle. I think Miss Pickle provides access. The art world is scary: It was intimidating to me when I first began working in it. It’s an intimidating space because a lot of people make it that way. It’s a very insider culture for the “cool kids.” I’ve never been a cool kid, so I try to make people feel welcome. That’s always been my goal in life.
Follow Miss Pickle’s here Instagram.