cat·i·con [kat ́-ī-kän]:

n. A tangible representation of the feline form of a purely decorative order, i.e., an object with no functional purpose; an objet d’art created in the image of a feline.

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letter_what is a Caticon?

What if you had an (almost) unlimited budget and an unfettered desire to surround yourself with furniture, clothing, art, household objects, books, and pretty much everything else in various semblances of cattitude? You would have Caticons. Welcome to Sandy Lerner’s thirty-year odyssey probing the corners of the art world, catalogues, foreign shores, and cyberspace, all in search of the one Cat Thing she did not yet have.

The book, Caticons, chronicles that journey, a catwalk of 4,000 years of Art Imitating Cats and the ways in which humans have expressed their love and appreciation for all things feline.


letter_about the Author

sandy_lerner_caticons_aboutSandy Lerner (alias Ava Farmer) has a truly cluttered past and specializes in being awkward and petting cats.

While possibly best-known for founding Urban Decay, co-founding Cisco Systems, and promoting animal welfare, she has returned to her roots (pun intended), having established an organic, humane, and predator-friendly agricultural enterprise, Ayrshire Farm, and its retail division, Gentle Harvest, to promote sustainable, anti-factory farming and endangered heritage breed livestock.


letter_a Note From the Author

Perhaps surprisingly, this CATalogue is not about art; it is about cats. I have tried to be sensitive to those who will appreciate the art-worthy details and have provided information about the artists, an artistic context for the piece (date made, epoch, details about the artist, if known), and sometimes the relationship of the particular piece in the artist’s oeuvre, or to a particular school of art, but primarily the focus is on the object, not the objectifier. Whilst many of the items featured in this CATalogue are important as works of art, visually stunning, perhaps valuable, those qualities were not necessarily the criteria for inclusion in this CATalogue. Rather, I wanted to tell a story about the relationship between cats and their people through cultures and through time. And, even with this somewhat restrictive method, as I have chosen to collect only happy cats, the objects herein serve to celebrate our bond as animals, as partners in the daily struggle to eke out an existence, as sharers of domestic space—and domestic bliss.

This book documents a very personal collection, one originally began as a catholicon for my congenital need to live with cats, during a catless hiatus caused by living instead with my new husband, an individual highly allergic to the entire family of Mammalia, and that’s just for starters. In time, this pursuit would evolve into an end in itself. I am well aware of my good fortune: the opportunity to live with such beautiful objects is a luxury in which only a very few can afford to indulge. Unlike some collectors who either follow trends or believe they are prophets in the art market, I have collected simply on the catholicity of (1) is it a cat, and (2) do I like it? Therefore, there are no images of unhappy cats, unlucky cats, or even unsociable cats. “My cats” are happy, healthy, and loved, in life and in art.