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Paperback Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics Book

ISBN: 0898156122

ISBN13: 9780898156126

Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

An unprecedented photographic record of cat creativity that will intrigue cat lovers and art lovers alike.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Essential, despite flaws

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.

The cat's meow

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!


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!!!

This book is HILARIOUS!

Its a really well-done joke, making fun of long-winded discriptions of modern art. This is a great book for people in the art world who have a well-developed sense of humor.

Exquisite send-up of the craft of art critique

Starting with a review of the history of feline art, the authors go on to explain how cats become artists, and how their owners can help develop their gifts. The section on the great contemporary cat artists is especially profound. Excellent photography, not only of their art, but also of the artists plying their craft, lends near-undeniable credibility to the extensive research published in the text. But be careful giving this book to either an artist or a cat-lover---a strong sense of humor is mandatory!
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