A Quick Survey of Cat Art at MoMA

Morris Hirshfield, Angora Cat, 1937-9. (Courtesy Museum of Modern Art)

In today’s cat art news, the latest installment of the Museum of Modern Art’s “Five for Friday” series, where museum employees sound off on some of the collection’s more bizarre entries, features the “Five Stages of Cat Ownership.”

It’s written by MoMA’s editorial manager for the marketing and communications department, who just got a pair of kittens and examines some of the museum’s significant cat art. The five stages referenced in the title are:

-Idealism, illustrated by Gerhard Marcks’s precious woodcut Little Cats. (“This is what we thought we were in for.”)

-Disenchantment, illustrated by Jean Dubuffet’s Angry Cat (the title says it all).

-Shell Shock, illustrated by Robert Gober’s Cat Litter (“You live in a world of litter, hair, stool samples, and veterinary appointments. You no longer jump at the sound of shattering dishes.”)

-Alienation, illustrated by Morris Hirshfield’s Angora Cat (“You see those eyes? Even the cat is surprised at how quickly and completely you have become its slave.”)

-Acceptance, illustrated by Hajime Sorayama, Sony Corporation’s Aibo entertainment robot (“obedient” and “easy to maintain”)

And, in the sweet hereafter, there’s always this.

So, the moral here appears to be: Kitties, friend and foe.

A Quick Survey of Cat Art at MoMA