How ’Bout Them Cats

Oct 27 2020 to Mar 20 2021
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Rosa Bonheur, Royalty at Home, 1893, pen, ink, and watercolor on paper.

We have lions, leopards and lap cats, deranged kittens and glowering jungle cats. They are portrayed realistically, abstractly, and in stylized form in paintings, sculpture, prints, photography, and textiles. We realize these may not be UK’s favorite Cats, but in challenging times, we offer an alternative lineup with this exhibition of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art from the Museum’s collection. 

Work by three women—all trailblazers—offers a sense of the depth of How ’Bout Them Cats. Rosa Bonheur was a celebrated animalier artist in mid-nineteenth century France, famed for her naturalistic paintings and watercolors. Her subjects ranged from hens and sheep to the pair of lions portrayed in Royalty at Home; the latter were part of her personal menagerie. Wanda Gág was a pioneering illustrator and commercial artist, whose 1928 book Millions of Cats won the prestigious Newberry Medal and is credited with transforming the art of children’s picture books. Her prints, such as the homey Winter Garden, were extremely popular and widely collected. Alice Neel made deeply insightful portraits, often of family, friends, lovers, and artists. Her young granddaughter is pictured in Victoria and the Cat in a loving, but touchingly awkward image. 

Felines also appear in a Panamanian Mola textile; a rainbow striped portrait by Fluxus artist Ay-O; clutched by a runaway teen in a photograph from Bruce Davidson; and in three-dimensional work from Kentucky artists Steve Armstrong and Robert Lockhart. 

Hours of Operation: 

CURRENTLY CLOSED - Reopening August 25, 2020 with modified hours.

Tues. - Fri.: 10am to 5 pm
Sat.: noon to 5pm
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and University Holidays.

The Art Museum will be CLOSED December 13, 2020 - January 4, 2021.

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