The image of the cat lady is often a sexist one, with connotations of spinsterhood and downright insanity. But so long as the smell is managed, someone who owns a bunch of cats lives in a house full of wonder. There’s adventure around every corner — and apparently something interesting inside them too, based on all the staring cats do.
356 Mission‘s latest show is the cat lady of exhibitions, with feline-inspired contributions from hundreds of artists, including a few big L.A. names like John Baldessari and Mark Allen. “Another Cats Show” infiltrates all three floors of 356 Mission, including the warehouse space’s rafters, and from the show’s name (which is pun on a previous exhibition of Alex Katz paintings) to its accompanying worksheet of “cativities,” there is a sense of catnip-fueled play throughout.
There are ceramic cats, inflated cats, cat playgrounds, cat photographs, keyboard cats, cat clothes, cat videos, cat poems, cat-attacked furniture and more cat paintings than you can shake a feather at. Most of the works are hung salon-style on the walls, from floor to ceiling, and whoever created the exhibition map labeling the hundreds of pieces deserves a big hug. At 20 pages, that guide is clearly the work of an expert cat herder.
Elsewhere I’ve said group shows are a mixed bag, where it’s tough to give any one artist her due when her work is slapped next to another’s, but that’s not necessary a bad thing when it comes to “Another Cat Show.”
Cassandre Griffin’s solitary bowl of milk in the middle of the floor is interesting when you wonder how many people have kicked it accidentally, and Jennifer Berger’s large, headless, furry sculpture with a video of a cat’s head projected up top is downright creepy, but for the most part the works in this show dart from your memory the moment you look away.
Viewed in isolation, most of this stuff would be considered bad art by even a kitsch-lover’s standard. But taken together, the pieces are alive, full of playful intrigue, shrieking squabbles and fearless leaps. Go see this show. Right meow.
The exhibition “Another Cat Show” is on view at 356 Mission through September 14.
Correction: Due to a mix-up with the exhibition map, Cassandre Griffin’s bowl was originally attributed to Alex Israel and assumed to be a studio prop.
Keith Plocek is a writer in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in LA Weekly, Vice, ArtNews and The Village Voice.
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