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Why Paint Cats: The Ethics of Feline Aesthetics Paperback – Unabridged, August 8, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
While the popular and enduring Why Cats Paint (1994) profiled the creative output of house pets, highlighting tabbies and Persian long-hairs with smeary abstract canvases they ostensibly made, the authors' latest volume inverts the paradigm, and offers instead the cat-as-canvas. Rexes and Siamese sport rainbow colors on their faces and flanks or graphic designs on their hindquarters: cats are transformed into butterflies, or clowns, or furry American flags. Presented as the document of a developing art movement, the book features a potpourri of artists and their "schools" (Neo-Totemism, Semiotic Anthropomorphism, Avant Funk), pairing big photographs with faux-interpretive essays about each cat and artist. Perhaps the most amazing entry is a portrait of Charlie Chaplin, supposedly painted with peroxide and vegetable dye on the rear end of a ginger and white cat named Burger. Amusing as a novelty item if nothing else (and very amusing at that), the book also offers a gentle kick in the pants to the gods of art criticism: a cat painted like a fish, for example, succeeds in "redefining and blurring the relationship between fur and scale, fin and tail, in order to create a shared intent that transubstantiates the species and repositions the notion of symbiosis." It's all so weird that it's sort of irresistible.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
You'¬?d think a person would have better things to do with $5,000 than to have her cat painted to look like a pig. . . . I personally appreciate feline beauty without a brush, but for the person who has every art book, my bet is they don'¬?t have one showcasing cats as canvases. Atlanta Journal-Constitution I would not paint a cat if someone paid me to do so. I would not paint a cat if Picasso rose from the grave and taught me how. If a cat represented the last piece of canvas on earth, I still would not paint that cat. I just know better. Sadly some people do not. . . . I'¬?m pretty sure it'¬?s not a hoax. Jackson Clarion-LedgerSuggests itself both as art and an art. Who am I to kibble? San Francisco ChroniclePainted cats transform into art with a purrpuss. Las Vegas Review JournalBy the time you finish flipping through WHY PAINT CATS, the latest art-book collaboration by writer Burton Silver and photographer Heather Busch, you'¬?ll have more questions than answers. Seeing Charlie Chaplin'¬?s face painted on a cats rump has that effect.Heather McKinnon, Seattle TimesIt felt wrong. I was appalled. Then I began to flip through the book, and was knocked back on my heels by the beauty of (some) of the works of art. A question I'¬?d never considered nestled in my brain:
Why not paint cats?San Diego Union Tribune Kitty Porn . . . What a little tramp! . . . Always wanted to paint your cat like an alien but never had the balls to try?Maxim magazine
Top customer reviews
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I love "Why Paint Cats." The photography and concepts are incredibly well executed and clever. The commentary and 'interviews' are the best part of the work, poking fun at everyone involved, especially art critics (fortunately). The authors have the stuffy self-importance of the critical world down perfectly, right down to the 'references', for example: "The artist's depiction of a green-eyed purple cat as a metaphor for monster...draws a clear parallel between the socially noxious effects of television and the environmentally destructive consequences of feline-avian conflict in the urban context," - D. Koplos, The Green-Eyed One-Tailed Spying Purple Parrot Eater. L.A. Art Times, 2001.
The work is startlingly original and can be read on several levels. I heartily recommend it in every way.