DOG ON was a performance and art piece by Pauline Forster, owner of The George Tavern. Pauline Forster slept in the clamped, mirrored Capri for 3 nights outside the Tate Modern starting on the day of its grand opening; 8th May 2000. Here is an extract from Pauline’s press release which was sent out the night before she left Gloucestershire to make her journey to the Tate Modern; “In a bid to get the world of Establishment Art to change gear and rev its ideas up, a breaking artist will be ram-raiding her way into Tate Modern’s opening celebrations on Monday 8th May, 2000. Driven by a desire to take artists out of neutral and put their hands back on the power steering, she will be joy-riding into London on the fast-lane this Monday.”
The work courted much media attention with features in most of the daily newspapers. The work was to challenge the YBA/Brit Art scene that was dogged by elitism.
On the night before the Queen was visiting the Tate Modern, Pauline was woken up by MI5, who threw her onto the streets with no shoes or money and impounded the car as the piece was considered a “security risk”. Branded as an “art terrorist” Pauline was adamant; “I am not an anarchist, I’m an artist”, she told one paper.
The artwork was eventually released from the compound, which was lucky as Pauline didn’t have the funds available to pay the fees. They looked favourably on the work which was the only reason it wasn’t scrapped!
Dog On was then exhibited at 291 Gallery in Hackney Road. In 2003, on the day the Congestion Charge was introduced in Central London, Pauline harnessed six girls to the front of Dog On, who then used ‘Girl Power’ to pull ‘Dog On’ through central London. The dawn chorus was being amplified into the street and Pauline, who was in the driving seat steering, threw rose petals into the traffic as she drove along.
When they drove past St Martins in The Fields on their way to Trafalgar Square where they were going to have a pit stop for press, photos and a quick break, one of the back wheels flew off. Pauline ran into Trafalgar Sq which was being pedestrianised and full of male labourers, asked for help. Four men rushed over lifted the car up using ‘Man Power’ and put the wheel back on.
After Trafalgar Square, the final leg of the journey was to go up The Mall to Buckingham Palace and show Dog On to The Queen, as Pauline knew she would love a diamante, bejewelled car as we all know how much she loves her royal jewels. Unfortunately for the second time, The Queen didn’t get to see Dog On this time around.
As part of an exhibition in a sculpture park in Brixton, Dog On was then on show for a year as part of a public art show. It was not touched 0r vandalised, despite being left in a public space. Dog On had total respect in Brixton.
Dog On was then moved to Westbourne Studios, where it was on show for several months.
When Pauline bought The George Tavern, she was able to provide a home for Dog On in the beer garden. Celebrities including John Cooper Clarke and Grace Jones posed for photos on the bonnet of the piece.
Dog On was then moved to the Glastonbury festival site in 2011, to be used in the ‘Unfairground‘ – an art field for subversive and radical art and music. After Glastonbury, Joe Rush brought the Capri to Rockaway Park where it still remains today.