Pastrami is a 10 year old Golden Retriever who loves art. Or so we’d like to imagine, based on the photos of Pastrami traveling around the world, posing in front of famous landmarks. Her owner, 57-year old New York resident Monroe Warshaw, admits that “she herself doesn’t much care about her artistic legacy, unless it can be tied in with getting more treats.” Warshaw is a collector and dealer of old master drawings, primarily Netherlandish and German, a passion that has allowed him to travel extensively – and he never does so without his best canine friend.
Pastrami is clearly the best sport ever, as she docilely allows Monroe to dress her up with appropriate hats, part of an impressive collection, for each location. Dog and owner are known to curators and museum staff around the world and have had brief moments of fame – once on Dutch TV, and once when the Warhol Museum put a photo of the dog in their museum on their website. Otherwise, though, these photos have never been published, so I thank Monroe for sharing his ongoing project with me and allowing me to publish the photos on ArtTrav.
Pastrami the Art and Travel Dog in North America
In 2013, Warshaw set out on a nine-month trip around the USA, a long voyage that started out as a two-week visit to some museum clients in Cleveland, Chicago and Minneapolis. But traveling, he found there was much to see – often unusual, art-related things. Using a website called “Roadside Attractions” he found himself in odd places like a beer can house, famous hot dog stands, a cemetery for circus performers and more. He found himself stopping in antiques shops and co-op malls looking for hats – first for himself, but increasingly, for his dog. With the photos of Pastrami, he states, “I wanted to record all the different cultures in the US.”
Part of this trip also involved getting to know the history and culture of American Indians, a positive result of an unfortunate incident: in an art sale in Paris, Warshaw “purchased two Hopi ‘friends’, or what we would call masks, that the Hopi consider the spirits of their ancestors. I bought two of them, planning to donate them to a US museum, not knowing about NAAGPRA, Native American grave protection and repatriation act.” He continues: “Within 3 months of the Paris auction I was at Hopi, in north eastern Arizona, with Pastrami, negotiating the return of the two Hopi artifacts that I had bought in France. I spent several weeks at Hopi and then started visiting other Native American sites as I had never known the devastation that we had caused to the early inhabitants of our country. And the trip continued, all the way up to Alert Bay British Columbia, arriving there for their October Thanksgiving.” (See the article on Arizona Daily Sun about this incident.)
Pastrami the Art and Travel Dog in Italy
Despite airline baggage limitations, the art dog project continued in Europe. Warshaw says, “It was all silliness! Who travels with a dog and six huge boxes of hats and millinery supplies to create hats on a whim?! It was therapy but also wonderful to create something that really makes me (and others) smile. And there is a lot of history in these photos. Some are rather sly, but there is sometimes a lot of thought and sarcasm in the images.”
Pastrami the Art and Travel Dog in Europe
“I am prouder of these images than of the old master drawings that I have discovered,” Monroe told me. The dog and her owner toured Europe as well, always impeccably dressed for the occasion.
Monroe and Pastrami are clearly an exceptional pair who have found a unique way to love both art and travel.
This post is part of a monthly exchange of blog posts by a group of arts bloggers who live in different parts of the world but share a passion for art and travel. March’s topic is “an art city” (which I have stretched a bit to include a dog). In particular, we’re welcoming a new member this month, Lizzie from WanderArti! Please check out what the others have to contribute on this topic and see our (infrequent) postings on the ArtSmart Travel Facebook page.