Cat Art Show Los Angeles will bring together more than 70 artists to celebrate the greatest of muses – the cat. An opening reception Jan. 25, 2014, kicks off the show, which will run for two weekends at the 101/Exhibit gallery, 6205 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.
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Globally recognized artists include Tracey Emin, Gary Baseman, FAILE, Shepard Fairey and Ray Caesar.
According to curator Susan Michals, Cat Art Show Los Angeles will be the largest multi-artist exhibition of cat inspired artwork for sale ever exhibited. Show hours are 12-5 p.m. Jan. 26, Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, 2014.
Michals has partnered with 101/exhibit, PicMonkey, Perrier, Peroni Beer, and The Walker Arts Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival, which will provide the video component of the show. All artwork will be for sale, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Stray Cat Alliance of Los Angeles.
We asked Michals a few questions about this unique event, and how it came to be.
Cat Fancy: Have you always had cats? Did a particular cat change your life or viewpoint on pets? Tell us about it.
Susan Michals: No. We started “cat collecting” in my family when I was in high school. Before that we had two very bad dogs. And while there have been about many cats around during the course of my life, two are significant: Le Strange, who was our first cat, who showed me that he was NOT a dog in any way shape or form. He was not what I thought cats were all about – he was cuddly when he wanted to be, and he was a massive hunter – he really showed up his masculinity when he’d drop a dead gopher or three on our patio. Then there was Harry, who was the eternal gentle soul. He used to let me sit him down in my lap, stomach up, and use his front paws to play the drums on his stomach. He was always mellow about it, never freaked out. He was sort of like, ‘Hey man, it’s cool.” He showed me what it was like to just be mellow and go with the flow.
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Why would cats make a compelling theme for an art exhibit? Has this been attempted before?
Cats are like any other entity – they are an opportunity to be one’s muse! Cats have run rampant through art history, from the Egyptians to the present day. Renoir often painted cats, and artists like Matisse, Picasso and even Andy Warhol always had their feline friend nearby. In 2013, there was a show at White Columns Gallery in NYC , aptly entitled “The Cat Show” which was fabulous with many famous artists, but unfortunately none of the art was for sale (it was on loan from private collectors). Not only will everything be for sale, we will also have posters available of two works, namely “The Orange Cat” by Nicholas Chistiakov, and “Great Big Giant World” by Marc Dennis.
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How did you select the artists in the show? Did you know that so many would respond?
I work as an art journalist and I went with a lot of artists that I know, or admire. I had no idea what kind of response I would get, but I will say that once I got one particular artist to sign on, it was a domino effect – I had about 40 artists confirmed in a matter of weeks.
You mention that many of the artists are “dog people.” What persuaded them to create cat works of art? Did their opinions on cats change during the process?
For these artists, it was a matter of going outside their comfort zone. That’s what challenges all of us; sometimes it may be really difficult to go there, but in the end, it’s always worth it.
What is the video component of the show?
The Internet Cat Video Festival, which was started by The Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis is providing the video portion. They are making a cut down version of their 2013 show for the LA crowd, plus teasing a bit for 2014.
What audience do you hope to reach with this show? Any plans to take it on the road?
Our audience is multi-layered. There are the art collectors who are fans of people like Jonathan Yeo, and Tracey Emin; then there are the fans of artists like Shepard Fairey and Brandon Boyd (of the band Incubus). Plus anyone that loves cats, of course!