Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cat in Repose

Cat in Repose

Cat in Repose

Here we have some photos of the big stone cat on the Transit Mall, on 5th between Morrison and Alder. It's called Cat in Repose, by Kathleen McCullough, and it dates back to 1977 when the bus mall first went in. And now it's back from storage, as they're finally done with MAX construction.

Cat in Repose

Most of the original bus mall art is just eyeroll-inducing, and if anything the new crop is worse. But I've always been fond of the cat. I freely admit I'm biased, and I'm not very objective when it comes to cats, even when they're made of limestone. If you're looking for challenging, cutting edge art you may want to look elsewhere, but it's a cheerful and soothing presence, and it just works in its own way.

Cat in Repose

Scanning the interwebs for info about it was notably unhelpful. There's no shortage of guidebook-type sites that give it a quick mention, briefly informing the reader that the cat is beloved by children of all ages, or something along those lines. Beyond that, there's not much out there, so I've gathered up everything that seemed halfway useful here for your enjoyment.

Cat in Repose

Portland Public Art mentioned it once a few years back, when it was damaged by a thoughtless road crew with a pressure washer. They seem to have completely restored it for the MAX grand opening, though.

Cat in Repose

There's exactly one Flickr photo of the cat out there, that I'm aware of. Other than mine, obviously.

Cat in Repose

The cat's Smithsonian Art Inventory page has a little more info.

Cat in Repose

The art inventory also has a little info on the sculptor, and mentions one other work of hers, a lion at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. I ran across a photo of it here, on a blog generally about outdoor art in Chicago. The lion is in about the same pose as our cat, and it's carved from the same Indiana limestone. I don't usually find myself saying this, but I think we ended up with the better of the two. Ours has more of a modern, minimalist look to it, and the lion's more, well, cutesy. Almost folk-artsy, even.

Cat in Repose

Neither one quite measures up to Richard Recchia's 1931 Persian Cat (SI inventory page here). But hey.

Cat in Repose

Truth be told, I'd much rather be posting photos of my own cat than posting these, but (as I mentioned a while back) his kidneys gave out on him, and we had to take him in for that one final trip to the vet back in mid-July. I still have a bunch of cute cat photos that I've never posted, and I'm still convinced the net needs more cat photos. But looking at them is still tough, and I'm not sure how I feel about posting them. So maybe someday, and maybe not, but definitely not today.

Cat in Repose

I'd hate to wrap things up on that note, so let me direct you to "私信 [I am Maru]", a Japanese blog about the life and adventures of Maru, a container-obsessed Scottish fold cat. It's cute and uncomplicated and it's nice to look at when I need a break from grinding out Java all day. So enjoy!

Cat in Repose

Cat in Repose

Cat in Repose

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