Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why Cats Paint (Heather Busch and Burton Silver)

Why Cats Paint
Heather Busch and Burton Silver
Ten Speed Press
Fiction, Art/Humor
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: The notion that humans alone are capable of producing works of art has been challenged in recent years by elephants, primates... and now cats. As far back as Ancient Egypt, the ability of felines to create for creativity's sake has been recognized. Today, works by modern cat masters sell for five figures or more. The authors examine the history of cat painting and provide profiles of numerous feline artists at work today, in fields ranging from portraiture to abstraction, with numerous photographs of their works.

REVIEW: When this book, a deadpan parody of the art world, was first released, some sources actually believed it was real. Busch and Silver nail the too-serious tone of modern art, taking the smallest marks and most vague connections to ridiculously high-concept extremes. It also, unfortunately, grows just as tedious at several points, perpetually driving home the joke of the book long after the point has been made. It still prompts a few chuckles. (I also don't even want to know how long it took to clean the cats in some of the photographs...)

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