Cat Power!

Humans are obsessed with cats, a fact known to anyone who has a cat or knows someone who has a cat or has spent more than ten seconds on the Internet.  Whether because a parasite has commandeered our brains or because kitties are just so darn cute, we’re crazy for the furry bastards.


This feline fixation is on full display at The Cat Show, the new group exhibition at White Columns gallery in collaboration with Social Tees Animal Rescue.  At Thursday night’s opening, artists and animal lovers alike braved the weather – it was raining you-know-whats and dogs – to lionize the humble housecat. 

Cat + Art

With contributions from well over 50 diverse artists, The Cat Show feels a bit like a Google search for “cat” and “art” come to life.  The results run from the sweet, as in Patti Smith’s tender pencil drawing of Robert Mapplethorpe and his cat, to the creepy, as in T. Cole Rachel’s collection of hundreds of ceramic cats; from the clever, as in Lisa Anne Auerbach’s Trap, Neuter, Release, a knit dress boasting “I ♥ My Feral Cat,” to the curious, as in Antonio Adams’ sculptures of Cayley Anthony and Whitney Houston reconceived as cat robots. 

Contemporary Art Sculpture for Cats #2 by Sam Roeck. Image courtesy of White Columns gallery.

The “Most Prescient” award goes to filmmaker Gus Van Sant’s Junior, a thirty second video of a cat chasing light reflections across the floor, scored by a folksy acoustic guitar.  Van Sant created the clip in 1989, sixteen years before the invention of YouTube catapulted the genre to millions worldwide.

Cat + Heart

Unifying the eclectic works is a genuine love for cats, a theme underscored by the show’s partnership with Social Tees Animal Rescue, a nonprofit organization that saves thousands of abandoned animals from kill shelters each year.  “Art isn’t only for a meditative, aesthetic experience,” explains The Cat Show curator and contributing artist Rhonda Lieberman. “It can also be a conduit for the redemption of pussycats and people.”

Move over Tilda Swinton, this cat in residence takes "The Maybe" to the most definitely adorable. Photo: Marisa Office

Cats available for adoption through Social Tees appear in the show as “purr-formance artists” in the “Cats In Residence” program, lounging about a cat habitat created by architectural designer Gia Wolff and Freecell Architecture. As with all cats and dogs adopted through Social Tees, The Cat Show cats will be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

"Trap, Neuter, Release" by Lisa Anne Auerbach. Photo: Marisa Office

In addition to adoptions, The Cat Show benefits Social Tees through sales of sculptures created by Joe Scanlan and coffee mugs designed by Cary Leibowitz as well as cheeky buttons by Olaf Breuning, which offer the one thing no cat lover can resist: “More Pussy?”

  • White Columns – "The Cat Show" Group Exhibition – June 14th to July 27th, 2013 – Tues-Sat: 12pm to 6pm [Prices of works benefiting Social Tees Animal Rescue range from $1 to $2,500.]  Cats from Social Tees Animal Rescue will be available for adoption on June 14 and 15 as well as June 19 and 20.

Article by Marisa Office