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Robert A. Nelson, 'Cat and Mice,' 1975. © Robert A. Nelson, used with permission.

Cat-Inspired Exhibitions Are Coming to Massachusetts

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Robert A. Nelson, 'Cat and Mice,' 1975. © Robert A. Nelson, used with permission.

City after city and art show after art show, cats have successfully transitioned from being champions of the Internet to being the furry subjects of real-world museum exhibitions. This May, the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) in Massachusetts will launch "Meow: A Cat-Inspired Exhibition," which will feature feline-centric art displays, public programs, and installations.

The project kicks off on May 21 and will run through September 4. Scheduled events include an exhibition titled The Captivating Cat: Felines and the Artist's Gaze, a community cat art show, cat-themed craft sessions, a “Cats-in-Residence” installation where guests can interact with and even adopt pets, and a bonus dog-themed exhibit curated by the museum’s mascot, Helmutt the dog. “The playful and mischievous natures of cats have inspired artists for ages,” WAM Director of Audience Engagement Adam Rozan said in a press release. “'Meow' is an opportunity to take this subject, which completely is of the moment, and explore how it relates to the experience of art, from ancient times to today.”

WAM tells mental_floss that pets aren't invited into the museum for this project, but there is a way for family cats to be included among the art. WAM is hosting a digital billboard contest for 'Meow,' which asks guests to submit the best photos of their cats. Eight winners will see their pets featured on a billboard for a week between May 1 and June 26.

As a preview of what cat lovers can expect from 'Meow,' the museum shared images of some cat-themed art from its collection. Check them out below, and head to the Worcester Art Museum’s website for much more information about the upcoming events.


Gustave Courbet's Woman with a Cat, 1864. Oil on canvas; museum purchase.


Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita's Untitled (Girl with Cat and Tiles); 20th century color lithograph on cream wove paper. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hall James Peterson. © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.


Egyptian, Eleventh Dynasty.Head of Cat, bronze. Mrs. Kingsmill Marrs Collection.



Orovida Camille Pissarro's The Ambush, 1938. Etching and aquatint on cream laid paper; museum purchase. © Estate of Orovida Pissarro, used with permission.


Theophile Alexandre Steinlen's The Cat in Winter, 1909. Lithograph on cream wove paper. Sarah C. Garver Fund.


Toshi Yoshida's Black Panther, 1987. Woodblock print, ink and color on paperGift from the Judith and Paul A. Falcigno Collection. © Estate of Yoshida Toshi, used with permission.

[h/t Artnet]

Images via Worcester Art Museum

                                                                                  

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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Made.com
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What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
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Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

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