England has Stonehenge, and now San Francisco has Cathenge–a monument of sorts dedicated to, you guessed it, cats!
The feline-inspired art installation at Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley will be welcomed to the neighborhood at a ribbon cutting on Friday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.
Comprised of six “Catoliths”—each standing nine feet tall—the 3D printed artwork is the brainchild of longtime San Francisco painter and animator David Normal, whose large-scale sculptures have made regular appearances at Burning Man.
The tall and slender felines, which have previously helped to light up the famous Nevada desert festival, are illuminated with embedded LED lights. The installation also features a motion-activated sound component that coordinates with changes in the lights’ color and pattern. The sculpture’s pedestal features “laser cut space cat themed motifs and metallic gilding,” according to a release from the San Francisco Arts Commission, which is bringing the installation to the park as part of a longtime public art partnership between San Francisco Rec & Parks and the Hayes Valley community that goes back to 2005. Previous art installations include SF artist Dana Albany’s Buddha-inspired Tara Mechani, source material for Montgomery, Alabama’s Mothers of Gynecology monument.
“The Arts Commission is thrilled to be able to bring these whimsical and larger than life feline-tastic sculptures to Hayes Valley in partnership with artist David Normal,” said Ralph Remington, Director of Cultural Affairs, in the release that let, erm, the cat out of the bag. “I hope this sculpture piques the public's curiosity and brings joy to all cat lovers with its interactive and immersive elements, drawing them into this beautiful public outdoor space and vibrant neighborhood over the next year.”
The art installation also takes a page from the Stanley Kubrick playbook, as they recall, in a way, the enigmatic black monoliths of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“Like the Monoliths of The ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ human consciousness is evolved through direct interaction with the Catoliths,” Normal said in a release. The six “Catoliths” are arranged in a circle to symbolize Normal’s concept of “Holofelinity,” or “Universal Cat Consciousness”—in Normal’s words, “a healing message of timeless love and peace.”
We’re not sure if Normal is being sincere or, shall we say, sphinx-like with that statement, but the medium may ultimately be the message—and what’s not to like about a sculpture dedicated to cats?
We think it’s a purr-fect addition to San Francisco’s art scene. Stay weird San Francisco, stay weird.
🕔 On view daily from 5 a.m. to midnight
📍Patricia's Green, 50 Fell St.
Christina Campodonico can be reached at [email protected]