Cats, just one of the shared favourite subjects of artists Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei, will be the subject of celebration in a dedicated, FREE exhibition at the NGV children’s galleries opening on 11 December. Both artists’ fondness for felines is well documented; Andy Warhol coinhabited his New York apartment with more than twenty cats called Sam (plus his favourite – Hester) and Ai Weiwei’s studio is home to over thirty cats, including one who opens doors and Garfield, who winks.
As part of the NGV Summer blockbuster Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, Studio Cats will feature fun and interactive cat-themed activities representing both artists and their work, including new commissioned wallpaper by Ai Weiwei, an original wallpaper design by Andy Warhol, rarely seen drawings of cats by Andy Warhol, as well as films and photographic portraits of the artists showing their deep affection for their cats.
In the space, children will be able to generate their own cat memes using clever captions alongside these images of Ai’s cats, in a new multimedia activity.
They can also create a video self-portrait inspired by Andy Warhol’s silkscreen portraits of celebrities and friends, and pose for the camera themselves to create Warhol-inspired videos that can be shared with family and friends. These videos will feature a surprise cartoon cat who pops up in the shots for all to see.
Andy Warhol American 1928 – 87 Cat in Front of Church c. 1959 ink, graphite, and Dr. Martin’s Aniline dye on Strathmore Seconds paper 57.5 x 45.1 cm The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.
In a mini theatre, children can enjoy a short film on the big screen starring a cast of cats that tells the tale of the two artists, and view Hosen Tandijono’s film 258 Cats, which was filmed at Ai’s studio in Beijing. There are many other interactive delights to discover at the exhibition for children of all ages.
Andy Warhol American 1928 – 87 Julia Warhola American 1892 – 1972 So Happy 1950s ink, graphite and aniline dye on paper 24.8 x 31.8 cm The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. (1998.1.1404) © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. /ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney
The exhibition is accompanied by a new NGV Kids book, Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei: An Art Book for Kids. Using stories, interesting facts, artwork images and illustrations, the publication explores the artists’ shared passions, artistic practices and mutual love of cats. The book also features creative activities for children, which have been inspired by both artists’ unconventional approaches to art.
Studio Cats will be open alongside the major Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition, which presents over 300 works, including new commissions, immersive installations and a deep exploration of the significant influence of these two exemplary artists’ paintings, sculpture, film, photography, publishing and social media.
Studio Cats is open from 11 December 2015 – 24 April 2016 at NGV International in Melbourne. Entry is free.
For more information visit the NGV website.