by Tyler Mangrum
- The Capitol Hill Times -
Although the Internet is the greatest technological achievement in global communications, allowing people from all over the world to have instantaneous access to each other and the entirety of recorded knowledge, this marvel of the modern world is now, also synonymous with something less revolutionary: cats. For one reason or another, an inexplicable amount of time on the web is spent ogling pictures and videos of these furry creatures and their supply of odd behaviors, and people don’t have to try too hard to find more material. So, what’s the cause of man’s limitless fascination with these tiny, furry animals?
“I think it has to do with the age-old saying ‘Curiosity killed the cat,’” James Monosmith said. “They’re just such curious little creatures that do such strange things. Because they’re so nimble, they can end up in really strange locations. I love dogs, too, but my dog will just sort of stay on the ground and roll around and be funny. Cats will get in places they shouldn’t be because they’re so dexterous. There’s one picture of a cat resting on a shower curtain pole. They’re just such strange creatures, and, so when you make these things into house pets, they make for some really hilarious videos.”
Monosmith, who runs Capitol Hill’s eclectic, pop-art centric Ltd. Art Gallery with his wife Melissa took our obsession with cats a step further and blended it with his own love pop-culture for a new exhibit called “Catz: An Art Show” running from this Saturday through the end of February. As you would expect, the exhibition is a celebration of cats as well as the web culture that they’ve unwittingly amassed for themselves.
“My wife Melissa absolutely loves cats, and when we were planning out shows for this year, she said that she had always wanted to do a cat show,” Monosmith said. “That got me thinking about Internet mash-ups of pop culture figures and cats, and we thought it would be a really fun idea to work with.”
As an art gallery more or less devoted to all things nerdy, Ltd. Art Gallery’s approach to blending cats with art isn’t what people may first expect. Rather than simply recreating the famous memes that dominate sites like Reddit, the artists that Monosmith amassed have gone in numerous directions in making cats the focal point of art, such as a painting that represent different versions of the doctor from “Doctor Who” as cats. But, of course, a few pieces will also be tributes to those memes, as well.
“One of the ones that really inspired that was on the Internet and is now in the show is by Jenny Parks where she recreates ‘The Avengers’ but with cats, and it’s pretty hilarious,” Monosmith said. “Another is a cover of “Les Miserables,’ but with cats, and that’s pretty awesome. There are other really cool pieces like a ‘Tank Girl’ homage called ‘Tank Cat,’ one of the cat buss from ‘My Neighbor Totoro,’ stuff like that. Others are things based off of the Internet cats like ‘Long Cat’ and ‘Bread Cat.’”
Coming off of the tail of another cat-centric event, the Internet Cat Film Festival, Monosmith says that the show may not immediately appeal to everyone, but it is, above all, a chance for humor, and that anyone who has ever found themselves laughing at Lil’ Bub late at night will love it.
“The show is targeted towards cat lovers, but it’s also just very humorous,” Monosmith said. “It’s going to play into people’s love affair with cats and pop culture, and there’s going to be a wide array of pieces for people to love and laugh at.”
While looking at pictures of cats are all well and good, Monosmith and his wife also realized that the attention that the exhibit provided was a perfect opportunity to let others experience the meme-making behavior of felines. So, on February 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. and February from 4 to 6 p.m., the Seattle Humane Society will have a cat adoption van parked outside of the gallery’s location (307 East Pike Street).
“We’re cat lovers, and we adopted our cats,” Monosmith said. “We think that pet adoption is important, so we figured that if we’re doing a show about cats and people’s love with them, we might as well get involved with the Seattle Humane Society, help support them, and figure out a way to get more cats adopted. If there’s an applicable charity that we can tie into an event, we want to try and make that happen. Any way we can encourage people to come, enjoy an art show, and benefit a cause, that’s great.”