Popular as a family pet, cats also have a strong presence in the homes and studios of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei’s cats, whose names include Bai Bai, Din Din and Garfield, appear frequently in the artist’s social media posts and their behaviour is often mentioned in Ai’s conversations. In turn, Andy Warhol’s fondness for cats was captured in his early career ink-blot drawings and photography.
Highlights of the Studio Cats exhibition include artworks such as a wallpaper created by Ai Weiwei; Andy Warhol’s Fish Wallpaper,1983 making a playful reference to cats’ enjoyment of fish; a screening of 258 Cats by Hosen Tandijono filmed at Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing; a suite of photographic portraits of Andy Warhol interacting with his cats by photographer Edward Wallowitch; and a display of original works on paper created for Andy Warhol’s small press publications 25 Cats Name Samand One Blue Pussy (c.1950) and Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother(1960).
These works are complemented by a range of interactive and hands-on activities for children and families to gain insight into the creative practices of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei and the role of cats in their art and lives.