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If you aren’t yet familiar with Cashcats.biz, allow us to enlighten you. Created by Will Zweigart about a year and a half ago, Cashcats caters to the Internet’s insatiable love of felines and the ironic post-recession thrill of throwing around money in the most ridiculous ways possible. Essentially a Tumblr that collects user-submitted pictures of cats lying on stacks of dough, the site has reached official meme-status with coverage by everybody from Vice’s Motherboard to – no joke – Bloomberg Businessweek. Cashcats' popularity on the web makes sense – it's remarkably addictive and can ruin an otherwise-productive workday. Even doing the SEO for this post was basically a blogger’s wet dream. (Do you have any idea how great the words “cats,” “cute animals,” and “pussy” are for traffic?).
Last night, though, marked a momentous occasion for Cashcats, with the site making the jump from procrastination-inducing virtual slideshow to real-world, pop-up art show. Dubbed Cashcats.biz Art Partie: How the One Purrcent Really Live, and co-hosted by Tumblr and Forced Meme Productions at the Dumbo Loft event space in Brooklyn, the event featured original artwork inspired by the blog. The fashionable crowd was able to bid on the pieces for the charity BARC, which included a beautifully realized monocle-rocking Pusheen and an amazing taxidermy piece by Divya Anantharaman, whose work we’ve featured here before. Click through to check out pics from the party, and read on below for an enlightening Q&A with the Cashcats creator himself, where we talk about art, politics, and the perfect Cashcat.
What was the inspiration to bring Cashcats from the Internet to the real world?
"Part of it was because I was being picky about what makes the cut for the website (this being an exclusive VIP room for wealthy cats and all), so the quality of submissions kept getting better and better over time. Some of the photos are so incredible, it started to feel like I was curating art rather than just moderating user-generated content. So, the show was an extension of that; a challenge to the Tumblr creative community to see what they would do with the theme outside of photography."
How did you choose between the submissions for the show?
"I was really impressed with the quality and variety of the work. We had taxidermy, neon, stained glass, jean jackets, interactive pieces — all over the place. Selection was just based on quality of work, without worrying too much about a certain aesthetic. Part of a crowd-sourced show is just seeing how the final product, when you put it all together in one room, can be from completely different perspectives yet have some common themes. In this case there was an undercurrent of 'feline-wealth inequality' – hence 'how the one purrrcent really lives.' And it's been interesting to see how much this theme resonates during an election year."
Do you have a favorite piece?
"Hard to say, because I was really humbled and impressed by the talent on display. It was an honor to have a submission from Pusheen, and Lisa Hildebrant's work really inspired the exhibit concept in the first place. But my favorite piece, in terms of exploring the theme for the show, is definitely Nic Rad's — I would encourage you to check out his thoughts on the matter."
What constitutes the perfect Cashcat?
"Attitude. A sense of elitism and ownership. The site is about recontextualizing everyday cat expressions in a different light — when surrounded by money (and sometimes guns), do their smug looks and ruling class attitude really click into place?"
How did you choose the charity for the show?
"I chose BARC because a friend had a really great adoption experience there, they are local and independent, and I was able to connect with the founders, who have remained involved since 1987. They are passionate about what they do. It's a great place to visit and find a new pet."