Shelter Cats Bask in the Limelight at Feline Art Exhibit in New York

While the amazing artwork brings a taste of highbrow culture to the show, the real stars of the installation are the cats. “The cats are upstaging the art,” jokes Lieberman.

The adoptable cats, or “purr-formers” inside the specially designed enclosure, come from Social Tees Animal Rescue, a no-kill shelter in New York, and many of them were adopted the first weekend of the show.

“The vibe at the show is so great,” says Lieberman. “At the opening, peoples’ faces lit up when they saw the cats. They almost had a childlike sense of delight. People were even clapping at the cats’ antics.”

A Special Habitat for Special Cats

The centerpiece of the show is of course, the "cats-in-residence" and their special chicken wire-wrapped enclosure. Lieberman collaborated with designers like Sam Roeck, who created a modular unit for the enclosure out of plywood and plexi-glass — something that he had always wanted to make for his cats — and Rob Pruitt, who designed a Zen litterbox.

To bring the many disparate pieces together, Lieberman worked with architects to design a structure to unite the space. They came up with a big black tube.

Lieberman didn't get to see the enclosure in action until opening night, and she's pleased with the structure. “It’s like a giant cat tree,” says Lieberman. “It’s kind of magical.”

While “The Cat Show” closes on July 27, Lieberman hopes she can do something like it again. She aims to create a more sustainable version of the feline habitat, but without the accompanying art.

She hopes the show raises awareness about strays and shelter cats, and helps reinforce peoples’ love for cats.

“Art celebrates all kinds of beauty," Lieberman says. "Strays are not as valued, but they are just as gorgeous and lovable as other cats.”

The Cat Show exhibit at White Columns in New York runs through July 27, 2013. Cats are available for adoption July 12–13 and July 19–20.

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