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When Fine-Art Sculpture Can Double as Cat Furniture

When I visited the Noguchi Museum in New York City, I wondered whether the sculptures on display were secretly pieces of cat furniture.

Phillip Mlynar  |  Feb 3rd 2015


When you get a cat, the world changes. Not, of course, in the scientific sense of the atoms and the particles and the snowflakes that make up the universe suddenly taking on new forms, but in the way that you view things. Once with cat, you interpret everything through the lens of the feline. So when I went to a museum by the Japanese sculpture artist Isamu Noguchi during the January lull in the year, my lasting impression became, “This would be a much better museum with cats in it.”

Let me explain: Noguchi’s work is crafted and chiseled from various types of fancy stone, and it errs on the large size. So as you potter through the museum, you become struck by the sense of space around the sculptures and how they might be utilized beyond being objects to simply behold.

Yep, this is where the cats come in.

So as I took in the above sculpture made from black and pink granite, my thought was, “Wouldn’t this make for a great communal cat feeding and water station? And wouldn’t the museum seem a perkier place with a coterie of kittens lounging around lapping up Fancy Feast and supping on water?”

These cat-centric thoughts continued as I moved through the rest of the museum. The next piece, titled Slide Mantra, was inspired by Noguchi’s visit to a bunch of astronomical observatories in northern India. In my eyes, it brims with the potential to become a playful piece of feline furniture: Let the kitty climb the stairs, throw a treat down the slide, then marvel as the furball slips down after it. Lather, rinse, and repeat the jape.

In a similarly playful fashion, this Contoured Playground sculpture seems a cut above the usual cat play station. Throw a ball in there and let the cat bat and roll it around over the smooth, curved lines and undulating grooves.

Noguchi’s Monument to Heroes seems like it would make a brilliantly taxing tower for the exceptional cat climber.

Magic Ring is a floor-based sculpture that would host a cat bed while giving an apartment a slick artistic vibe.

I also think the Floor Frame, constructed out of bronze, would be a wonderful multi-purpose piece, allowing a cat to play and hop around it, nap on it, and even rub his lil’ kitty face against the edges.

When I returned home from the Noguchi Museum, I decided to search around and see if the artist himself ever had any cats. The online biographies I came across didn’t seem to shed any light on his stance towards the feline form, but I did discover that at one point in his career Noguchi created a series of glass-crystal plates with a cat etched on them. Maybe there really was some substance to my feline flight of fancy?

So, that was how my visit to a sculpture museum became a musing on cats. Have you ever visited a museum and, despite your best attempts to appreciate the artwork, decided that really the whole shebang should be a cat park? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more about cats in art:

About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.