In the depths of a social-distance-quarantine, things can get pretty bleak. Very real fear and anxiety, not to mention the more mundane challenge of existential boredom. No beaches, no museums, no playdates, basically no school. And you think you’ve seen every cat-related video and meme on the internet? Think again! To answer the call, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art has unleashed a cavalcade of cats – drawn, painted, sculpted, and celebrated by the American master himself. It’s the digital exhibition you didn’t know you needed.
A cure-all for gloom and restlessness, “9 Lives: Cats of Walter Anderson” features more than sixty of Walter Anderson’s felines, spanning the decades between his 1920s art school years and the 1960s. There are ceramic cats, cats in crayon, black cats, napping cats, and fairytale cats.
“To the Cat,” wrote Anderson, “Thou who carriest the sun for a head, a serpent for a tail, and for feet, four flowers, which follow thee wherever thou doest go.”
The Walter Anderson Museum of Art’s digital cat exhibition is but one prong in a multi-faceted digital education initiative called ART+, which connects the collection to a variety of fields of study including science, language arts, and history. Installments are complete with video lessons and standards-based curricular resources for students, including a Walter Anderson-animated reading of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” and a family-friendly yoga session in the galleries with poses inspired by Anderson’s animals.
While the Museum and other businesses are closed due to the pandemic, the staff hopes to provide quality education with a generous helping of lighthearted distraction. If you follow the Museum’s social media exploits (@wamamuseum), you’ll even find them imitating a series of Walter Anderson artworks, humorously reanimating cats and bears and line drawings for the present moment. Because the days are long and the moments many, and hope is found in the present.
Written by Julian Rankin, WAMA