Last weekend in Los Angeles, more than 7,000 people visited a gallery to see artwork featuring cats.
Breathe a minute. Remain seated (or sit down if you’re standing). Let that information crawl into your frontal lobe, where reasoning takes place. Now let it work its way down to your limbic system, where emotions reside. I’ll say it again.
Last weekend in L.A., 7,000 people gathered to view cat art.
Okay. You can shout now, or cheer, or give a big ol’ countryfied Oh, HAYull yes! if you want. It’s another indication that, culturally speaking, cats (and people who love cats) continue to transcend the flashy gaudy discount shopping-mall annex of ridicule to occupy a plane that includes style, nuance, subtlety, and beauty … and, okay, heavily tattooed and accessorized alterna-weirdness (which feels like native habitat to me).
Susan Michals, curator of Cat Art Show | Los Angeles 2: The Sequel, put it best last week when speaking to KPCC-FM: “My whole thing is that you can be chic, stylish, and have a cat simultaneously.”
And, I would add, draw 7,000 people (including Seth Green and his wife Clare Grant) to an art show about cats.
Cat Art Show 2 took place Thursday through Sunday, March 24-27. I interviewed Michals about it last month (and did the same before the first Cat Art Show, which drew 5,000 people). Michals is a woman at the forefront of cats and culture. Last year she produced CatConLA, described as “like Comic-Con … for cat people,” which drew some 12,000 attendees. The second CatCon is scheduled for June. (Full disclosure: Susan and I have known each other since … uh … an unspecified date in the 20th century, let’s say, and I’ll be MC again at CatCon this year.)
Michals said 70 percent of the art was sold, including works by Marion Peck, Mark Ryden, and Norman Reedus of Walking Dead fame. Those three as well as Rob Reger, the artist behind the cat-loving comic character Emily the Strange, were among 74 artists who contributed work. The oldest visitor was 85, Michals said, while the youngest was 3.
Here are a few more shots from the opening at Think Tank Art Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.
Here’s Dawn Bowery with one of her photographs.
Here’s Sonya Palencia with her painting, “Bustopher Jones.”
Britt Ehringer poses with a liquid refreshment near one of his works.
Michael Caines stands by his painting of a (smoking) orange tabby.
I spotted numerous unbelievable outfits in the photos from the opening, but the one worn by Paul Koudounaris was probably my favorite. (I love his “Kitty Warhol” as well.) Here they are.
I’ve no idea who this handsome fellow is, but I have a tie just like his — what if I’d been able to attend the opening and worn mine? How embarrassing would that have been?
Michals hasn’t committed to a Cat Art Show 3 that I know of, but considering the success she’s had with events, there’s a lot more to come in terms of cats, art, and culture from her.