Cats, the Crips Take Over the L.A. Art Scene; Snoop Dogg’s On Guard Duty

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Proof that the felines-in-art trend has more than nine lives: “The Cat Art Show,” coming to Los Angeles in late January, which showcases the work of dozens of artists, from Shepard Fairey to Tracey Emin and Liz Markus. (Some of the profit from the selling exhibition will benefit the city’s Stray Cat Alliance.)

It’s already been a busy year for cat-fancying curators. This summer, New York space White Columns hosted “The Cat Show,” which featured an artist-designed environment in which adoptable kitties frolicked for the public. (The previous year, alternative art institution Tomato House hosted a similarly themed exhibition out in Brooklyn.) In August, the Walker Art Center held its second Internet Cat Video Festival —they’ll be providing film programming for “The Cat Art Show” in L.A.

One of my favorite inclusions in the L.A. exhibition is Marc Dennis’s A Great Big Giant World, 2013, which depicts Snoop Lion-as-museum-guard standing in front of an ornately framed image of an impossibly cute kitten. “I actually don’t like cats in real life, but I love to paint them,” Dennis admitted. “As an artist I create staged and voyeuristic scenarios of contemporary American culture. My painting is a riff on the incredible, sometimes overbearing Internet love for cats and the passionate respect and love for hip hop. I look at cats as divas, much like hip-hop culture in a sense has become, but with a bigness, an air, a kind of gangster stately disposition. I chose to paint Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) not just because I enjoy his music but because he is an iconic figure, and in my painting he serves as a sentry, a guard of sorts, watching over ‘Biggie Kitty.’ And the Victorian nouveau style blue and white bandana pattern background is a tongue in cheek reference to the Crips.”

“The Cat Art Show” curated by journalist Susan Michals also features work by Ramsey Dau, Buff Monster, Ray Caesar, Tim Biskup, Brandon Boyd, FAILE, Justin Bower, and many other artists. Below, a few highlights of to expect when the show opens in January. Visit the official website for additional information.

guy denning_CATpiece Guy Denning, Kraft durch Freude (says Balthus)

NicholasChistiakov Nicholas Chistiakov, Orange Cat

NoelFielding Noel Fielding, Bubble Gum Cat at the Cinema

RachelSchlueter Rachel Schlueter, Billy Raised by Raccoons 

RayCaesar Ray Caesar, Kitten

STARE_KETKevin Earl Taylor, Stare

Main image: Marc Dennis, A Great Big Giant World