WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS – Thanks to the Internet and cat lovers, it can sometimes seem like cats have taken over every aspect of popular culture. Funny videos and goofy photos may be firmly under their furry paws, but now not even fine art is able to resist their feline allure. Now, Massachusetts’ Worcester Art Museum is hosting a brand new exhibition dedicated to cats in art from ancient Egypt all the way up to the modern day.
Cat memes might seem like a modern phenomenon or perhaps even a fad, but the expressive animals have intrigued artists for literally thousands of years. Cats have been memorialized in art dating back to ancient Egypt and China, as well as in everything from paintings, prints, and of course, videos, Cait Munro writes for artnet News. Recently, cats have appeared everywhere, even featured in a painting that sold for $826,000 at auction, in a proposal for decorating a new overpass in San Francisco, and even, briefly, blowing up Times Square’s iconic billboards.
“Cats have given rise to a plethora of creative online projects, videos, and memes that mix humor and artistry. While the Internet has allowed for viral consumption of the content, this phenomenon isn’t new,” Adam Rozan, the museum’s director of audience engagement, said in a statement. “The playful and mischievous natures of cats have inspired artists for ages.”
The upcoming exhibit, titled Meow: A Cat-Inspired Exhibition, explores the cat’s iconic role as artistic inspiration from throughout art history and up to the modern day through a series of exhibitions and events. This series includes an exhibit called The Captivating Cat: Felines and the Artist’s Gaze, which features in upwards of 70 pieces of cat-inspired art from the Worcester Art Museum’s collection alone, a self-guided “Cat Walk” tour, and an exhibition dedicated to Hot Topic mascot and goth icon Emily the Strange, Joshua Lyford writes for Worcester Magazine.