LOS ANGELES — It was a purr-fect day to head down to the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace for the 10th Annual Cat Art Show. Established by journalist and art collector Susan Michals, the exhibition brings together cat fanciers from around the world, including both emerging and established artists, to celebrate felines and raise money for cat charities.
Though I’m famously a Dog Person, mostly due to my cat allergies, the Cat Art Show immediately hooked its claws into me. Before I even saw it in person, Instagram lured me in with Britt Ehringer’s “Kobe Entering the Kingdom of Kittens,” an oil painting that features the late Los Angeles Lakers basketball star floating among the heavenly clouds, surrounded by a chorus of curious kittens.
This year, Cat Art Show head curator Michals invited co-curator Elsa Munroe, an artist and producer, to commission nearly 50 artists to show their love for cats. The new works, created between 2023 and 2024, take the form of paintings, drawings, dolls, and acrylic mosaic sculptures. Ehringer, a Cat Art Show veteran, was joined by artists with cult followings such as illustrator and toy designer Yusuke Hanai, fantasy figurative artist Natalia Fabia, and guerilla artist RABI, whose “We Buy Souls!” signs have long counterbalanced insidious house flipping advertisements in my neighborhood.
Tasked with making memeable cat artworks for charity, many of the pieces were delightfully campy. Had I been a thousandaire, I would have snatched up Colin Robert’s iridescent “Sphinx,” a towering glass mosaic of a hairless cat with a long torso, which was modeled off Egyptian Canoptic jars that held organs removed for mummification. On my way in, I ran into a coworker who lamented that both of Annie Montgomerie’s dolls had sold; she was ready to empty her bank around for the gray tabby “FURL” or the black cat “Miss Patch,” knitted dolls with wide-eyed cat heads, each holding a small animal friend in their fuzzy paws.
Other standouts included Leo Forest’s “Une Chat,” a frenetic charcoal and crayon drawing of a cat in motion, hissing and scratching; and the diptych “Cat and Mouse” by Tobias Keene, which placed an impasto cat in dialogue with a small mouse, the orange tabby separated from its prey by the borders of their ornate, gold frames. I was also charmed by the delicacy and realism in Sydney Swisher’s “Pevely,” where a long-haired cat perches on a sunlit floral sofa, the upholstery pattern blooming past the boundaries of the furniture.
After taking in the cat art, I went upstairs to look at the kittens (and puppies) up for adoption at the PetSpace. Their luxurious, temperature-controlled kennels and massive cat towers reassured me that these strays were living their best lives. But the cats wouldn’t be staying at the shelter long. Just like the artworks, the animals were scooped up by eager patrons, each on their way to a forever home.