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From the Cutting Room Floor: Paul Heyer’s Dog

By Bridget Reilly O'Carroll
A white-haired dog is curled up with its head neatly tucked near its feet, eyes closed, on a silver metallic blanket.
Rudolph. Photo courtesy of the author.

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Our digital team pores over hours of footage when creating the videos for our exhibitions and events. But to tell a compelling narrative, a lot of material gets dropped on the proverbial cutting room floor. As we prepare to say goodbye to Paul Heyer’s Chicago Works exhibition on July 1, we’re looking back to December when Director of Digital Media Anna Chiaretta Lavatelli, and Digital Media Associate Bridget O’Carroll visited the artist’s studio and discovered a new best friend.

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Getting to witness an artist in their studio is always exciting and very revealing of how they work and what inspires them. As the MCA’s video crew squished into Paul’s one-room studio to eat donuts and prepare for the interview, we couldn’t help but notice a short, hairy studio assistant—Paul’s dog, Rudolph. Jokingly called the artist’s muse, Rudolph appeared in photos on the wall and on canvases on the floor, and he really wanted to be on camera. He followed Paul everywhere before finally settling down in the middle of our camera crew on the prototype of Comforter (Silver Cloud) (2017). While Rudolph didn’t make it into the final cut of the video, you can see him in the exhibition, where he is featured in the painting Sleeping Rudolph (2017).

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Paul Heyer and the MCA’s film crew in Heyer’s studio. Photo courtesy of the author.
Installation view, Chicago Works: Paul Heyer, MCA Chicago, Jan 16–Jul 1, 2018. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.
Rudolph. Photo courtesy of the author.
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