A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Artists and Their Cats: A Book Review

Artists and cats both like to go their own way, do their own thing, and just generally be whoever they are without any undue influence from some small-minded “authority,” thank you very much.

This makes artists and cats perfect for each other, as Alison Nastasi points out in her new book, Artists and Their Cats.

Nastasi’s volume includes forty-eight photographs of artists and cats, each accompanied by a short written profile of the artist (or artists) in question. Subjects range from Ai Weiwei to Andy Warhol (who once had, oh, about twenty-five cats), Georgia O’Keeffe (the photo of her with her Siamese cat is one of our favorites), Gustav Klimt, Herman Hesse, and Maya Lin (designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC). And of course there is Salvador Dali, pictured on the cover with his ocelot, Babou (who apparently loved to play with Dali’s socks—while the artist was not wearing them, we hope).
Ai Weiwei and cat.

The text is informative and often fascinating, though occasionally sparse and not as cat-centric as we might have wished. In a few cases, we’re not sure whether the particular artist actually loved cats or just happened to be photographed with a cat once.

Georgia O'Keeffe and cat.
But for this book, the text is an accompaniment to the real stars, which are of course the photographs. Some of them are sublime—I am thinking here of the O’Keeffe and Herbert Tobias photos, she with that lovely Siamese and he with a magnificent black cat draped over his head. We love the photo of Henri Matisse working in bed with a couple of cats for company. Claude Cahun and cat staring directly into the viewer’s eyes. Georges Malkine, photographed by Man Ray, holding a cat whose head is slightly blurred in movement.

We have gone through Artists and Their Cats twenty or so times by now, and each time we find something that stops us and draws us in for another, closer look. If you love cats, artists, or photographs of cats and people together, you will love this book.

Highly recommended!

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