Cat-Inspired Exhibitions Are Coming to Massachusetts

Robert A. Nelson, 'Cat and Mice,' 1975. © Robert A. Nelson, used with permission.
Robert A. Nelson, 'Cat and Mice,' 1975. © Robert A. Nelson, used with permission. / 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 paper. Gift from the Judith and Paul A. Falcigno Collection. © Estate of Yoshida Toshi, used with permission.

[h/t Artnet] Images via Worcester Art Museum