The cats of the internet, from the grumpy to the adorably cheerful, are getting their own museum exhibit this August. The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY, which houses television and movie memorabilia (like the dress Robin Williams wore in Mrs. Doubtfire and a collection of the classic '60s outfits worn on Mad Men) is unveiling an exhibit titled How Cats Took Over the Internet on August 7. The museum promises vistors will be able to appreciate and ponder all the cats of the web, including "Caturday, lolcats, cat videos, [and] celebrity cats."
This isn't the museum's first foray into the world of the web. In the spring of 2014, it presented an installation titled The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture, which projected some of the most recognizable GIFs on a white wall — complete with Dawson crying, Liz Lemon high-fiveing, and Oprah shaking her head in an endless loop. In the weeks leading up to the exhibit's unveiling, it's time to speculate: Which web-cat moments and celebrities will make the cut? Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub are givens, but what about sleep-hugging cat, whose comforting skills had the internet cooing for days?
Will peek-a-boo cat, of both video and gif fame, be included?
Whichever internet cats get their moment of high culture, another web exhibit means another step for old-school institutions that are recognizing new media in art and culture. If a cat video can make us feel five different emotions simultaneously (and/or inspire us to pick up a camera ourselves), it definitely deserves a spot by the gift shop.
As Jason Eppink, the museum's associate curator of digital media, explained, “The internet’s collective obsession with cats offers a window into the way we understand ourselves. This exhibition examines the many reasons for this deceptively frivolous phenomenon and highlights the new ways we’re creating, consuming, and sharing culture.”