Laura Davis, an honorary Angeleno, was I HAVE CAT’s roving correspondent for the Opening Evening of the Cat Art Show. Thanks to Laura it’s as if we got to go to the exhibit too! You can read more about Laura and her three cats at the end of this piece.
It was a lively crowd that turned out for the Los Angeles Cat Art Show opening Saturday night. People from all walks of life – singles, families with small children, older couples – and everyone in between showed up, many dressed in their feline finest.
People were sporting everything from cat-ear headbands, Felix the Cat watches, a myriad of cat t-shirts, leopard-print-everything, and one beautifully embroidered cat face blouse. I’m not quite sure what the guy in the floor-length butterfly print skirt was going for. Maybe he thought the cats would like the butterflies?
One of my favorite things at this kind of event is the great opportunity for people watching (and eavesdropping!) Since there was a wait to get in, people started chatting with their neighbors and surfing the web on their phones. Wallets were pulled out and cat pictures shared. Snippets of conversation could be heard in the crowd:
“How many cats have you got?”
“We have 3, how about you?”
“I have a Chihuahua; I’m allergic to cats.”
“…and all of a sudden, he [a large orange tom cat, she explained] just decided he didn’t like women. They had a guest over, and he attacked her while she was in the bathroom!”
One lady was reciting random cat facts. “The oldest house cat on record lived to be 38!” and, “Did you know house cats can run 30 miles an hour?”
Behind me, I heard a man laugh and say something about Waffles to his girlfriend. I glanced back, and he was looking at Glogirly’s Facebook page. The lady behind him saw Waffles over his shoulder and squeaked with delight. He directed her to Glogirly’s page, where she and her friends found a new kitty love.
Apparently, the VIP reception broke-up about this time, because we noticed quite a few people being escorted out the back door and into their cars under the cover of golf umbrellas. Mind you, it had been a 75-degree day without a cloud in the sky, and it was nearly 8 p.m., so it’s unlikely that these folks were in need of sun protection. Ah, Hollywood!
Visitors were even inspired to create cat art of their own. As the line neared the entrance to the gallery and people were starting to get restless. There was a large wooden frame leaned up against the building about 4 feet square. The guy behind me grabbed it, hopped up and started mimicking cat behaviors like face-washing and batting at flying insects in the frame while his companion took pictures!
Inside, the 3,000-square foot gallery was stuffed with a mind-boggling array of artwork dedicated to our fine feline friends. I expected to see a lot of paintings, photography, and digital art, which there most certainly were, but what I didn’t expect was the variety of textile artworks like Faile’s “Lost & Found” quilt.
It featured black and white panels with lost and found cat posters and vintage advertisements tied together with a salmon pink background and assorted newsprint text as borders.
Another textile piece that drew big attention was an embroidered piece on natural linen, entitled, “Broke Ass Baby Daddy,” by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti. It’s a simple piece in an understated palette – a sketchy depiction of a reclining marmalade tabby – but its humor made a huge splash!
Misako Inaoka’s sculpture “Double” shows a 2-headed cat with moving bird-mice that squeaked as people walk by (I’m sorry to report that this sculpture was displayed near the bar area, and some people were using the base as a cocktail table: probably not what the artist envisioned!).
Mattia Biagi created a sculpture of a black cat riding a Roomba, which, sadly, was not operating when I visited because there were so many attendees, it wouldn’t have had room to move around.
Speaking of the bar, they were serving champagne in tiny, shallow plastics cups. With all the people jostling each other in the crowded space, I ended up getting splashed with one of them and went home wearing “eau de champagne”!
There were vintage photos of celebrities with their cats, contemporary photos of cats, and some beautifully altered photos, like Jill Greenberg’s piece, “Glitch Cat (Morris).” The piece shows Morris the cat in a kind of “Max Headroom” style: lined and grainy, with colors askew.
One of the pieces I was most impressed with is Rob Reger’s, “40 Cats in 4 Directions,” which spins on the wall, yet the cats (depicted in a style that reminded me of Escher) always appear to be right side up.
My other personal “best picks” from the show were “Shark Hat” by Jason Shawn Alexander because it just cracked me up in its absurdity.
“Yarn” by Tim Biskup, which mashes up Picasso’s style with a mid-century modern color palette.
…and the one I most deeply long to have hanging on my office wall, “Toulouse” by Natalia Fabia. For me, it represents the beautiful chaos and brightly colored exuberance that is Cat.
The Cat Art Show Los Angeles is at 101/exhibit galley, 6205 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. Admission is free and cameras are allowed, but plan to spend some time waiting to get in. All of the art works on display are for sale, and a portion of the proceeds from the show will benefit Stray Cat Alliance of Los Angeles. The show will be open again next weekend February 1 and 2, from noon until 5 p.m.
Laura Davis is a freelance writer and editor who is kindly allowed to live in the home of three fabulous felines: Pebbles, Piglet, and Ziggy. Piglet, her assistant editor, has discerning taste in literature and excels at helping Laura relax after a long day’s work.
Pebbles is primarily responsible for keeping Laura’s books warm, even while she’s still reading them,
while Ziggy provides comic relief for the entire household.
Laura’s primary duties include earning money for cat food, toys, and other accessories, and providing iPad games for cats, as well as using her opposable thumbs to open the door 7,346 times daily. She does, for the record, have a crush on Petie (of I HAVE CAT).