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Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics Paperback – May 1, 1994


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Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics + Dancing with Cats: From the Creators of the International Best Seller Why Cats Paint
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (May 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898156122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898156126
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.3 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The National Examiner featured “Pussycat Picassos” claiming that “feline paintings will make you paws” and calling the book “captivating.”

From the Publisher

• Pocket-size gift edition of the wildly popular book on feline aesthetics, distilling the best photos and writings from the original large-format book. • Includes full-color photos of cats painting. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It's a great gift boot.
Sherree Rowland
The book is a wonderful send-up of the art world, of ourselves and our laughable tendency to anthropomorphize those inscrutable companions, our cats!
Susan C. Bentler
I got this book today and got sucked into it immediately.
K. Deans

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 127 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
My undergraduate work was in Fine Arts and Art History so I found this book hysterical. The writing style mimics most art criticism and art history pieces, so if you're familiar with that genre, you'll appreciate the genius of this book. It pokes fun at art critism while playing on most people's bafflement as to what constitutes art. This book is a joke, although it's so flawlessly constructed you can't be sure at first. The cat metaphor makes a great commentary on the ridiculousness of much art writing. Even if you've never been forced to read ridiculous art criticism, you'll appreciate this book if you love cats. This review is in memory of "Teenie" (1992-2000), my little calico girl.
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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Jon Torkelsson on December 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Several theories of feline art have been put forward over the years, and this volume may serve as an excellent introduction to the uninitiated. Influential feline artists are discussed and their work reprinted in glorious detail. There is, however, a strong bias towards the mainstream of cat art. Important, indeed vital, underground movements are completely ignored. The street art of alley cats is sadly overlooked, perhaps reflecting the authors deference to the curators of that ivory tower, the Museum of Non Primate Art.
Also lacking is any serious discussion of Queer Theory, so vital in the deconstruction of any mammalian artistic representations.
Yet in spite of these flaws, Why Cats Paint remains an important and influential volume that no connaisseur of feline aesthetics can afford to ignore.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
The first time I saw this book, I thought it was such a riot that I couldn't stop laughing. But then, as the pages progressed, a small thought crept over me -- 'could this be serious?'
I am a person owned by cats - if one includes the kittens, I've had 19 cats officially (and another half-dozen stray hangers-on who know that food will be forthcoming). It had never occurred to me to give them paint! What would happen if I did?
The photography in the book is impressive. Working with children or animals in the best of settings is never easy for a photographer, but Heather Busch is to be commended for bravery, patience, and creativity that obviously rivals the cat-subjects of the text. Stunning colour shows not only the cats' creations, but the cats themselves, often matching their artistic styles in body as well as spirit (for example, Rusty, the orange tabby, likes to paint in a rustic manner; Wong and Lulu collaborate on interesting abstractions, etc.).
The text is written with ironic skill and creative flair by Burton Silver (cats may paint, but have yet to write...). Silver (the name of one of my cats, by the way) is a writer and art critic based in New Zealand, having written on subjects such as contemporary erotic Japanese paper sculpture.
In addition to going through a contemporary survey, the authors look at the history of cat art (including a Xois funerary discovery, ancient Egyptian art, medieval illuminations, and more). It also looks at the psychology of why cats paint (hence the title) -- the fascinating theory of Invertism is a case in point, which explains why cats lie on their heads looking at objects upside down approximately 3% of the day.
A funny book. A fascinating book. A beautiful book. My cats each give it paws up!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Brian Wallace (Co-author of It's Not Your Hair) on July 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
If Christopher Guest dove into book writing and concepting I'm not sure that even his brilliance could touch the amazing, hysterically funny work contained within these pages. With so many touchy feely works on pets and art, this one is a refreshing work that manages to come across as both parody and respect. I love cats but I also love irony and satire: exactly the elements that Guest so deftly blends in his movies.
I cower at the utter absurdity and genius of abstract art in general and this rare little gem of a book.
Bravo!!!
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140 of 169 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a non-primate artist, I find myself struggling for credibilty within a homo sapien-dominant society. My exclusion from this book infuriates me; I have been painting with my paws for 10 years, and *not* with the anthropomorphic media the majority of the other cats use. Mine is a non-traditional approach steeped in the ancient rituals of animism which predate the appearance of you narrow-minded, talking monkies -- I swat at the flies which hover above my half-buried faecal matter, smearing my own personal excreta upon the surrounding vertical surfaces. I not only proclaim my dominance and territory this way, but I express the integration of necessity and ensoulment.

I am truly disheartened that I, a simple, "homeless" alley cat be discriminated against inclusion in this publication because I do not fit the priveledged, domesticated, bourgeois ideal. I refuse to wear a collar, and I beg freely at back alley kitchen exits. None of you talking monkies will ever claim me as a "pet," nor will I conform to your elitist dogma. I find your art criticism trite and superficial, a paeon to the Ivory Tower of academia -- completely detached from what it means to be feline, to teeter on the edge of survival.

May all my shed fur cling to your formalwear.

Lucius "Scruffy" Lickpaws

San Diego

[...]
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