Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

Katharine Schweitzer on “losscat”


Poster with image of kitten reads "Loss Cat: speckles, does not call when come, limps, dirty, not tag. Reword. Needs medicines. Foam. Call Ward 404-539-1839"
Image Provided by R.Land

This is entry #7 in our ongoing 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.

Philosopher: Katharine Schweitzer (University of Nevada, Reno)

Artwork: R.Land, Losscat(2001). 21″ x 28″ jumbo fliers posted on the streets of Atlanta.

Words: I first encountered this depiction of a missing feline on the wall of a Decatur pub in 2008. Having been printed and mounted professionally, Losscat appeared to me as art. Nevertheless the work prompts questions about its original purpose. Does Ward actually need our help? Has he found his lost cat? The incongruity between the verbal description of the cat and the positive emotional expression on its face is striking. The lost cat’s stare and smile demand my attention whenever I encounter one of the many replications of this image. Losscat lingers with me, much like a Cheshire’s grin.

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