Bunnie Reis, Ezra Li, and Garrison Buxton created the original Kittenzilla, which was painted over an unused wall on Divisadero at Hayes, and its new counterpart, Kittenzilla 2. Both share the supersweet kitty eyes of a Lisa Frank drawing, with shocks of neon lasers shooting out of said peepers. This new piece, however, also includes a banner declaring, "We're Winning the Future!!!"
The exhibit also includes numerous other takes on everyone's (okay, some people's) favorite fuzzy house pet -- 58 pieces by 16 artists. One wall is occupied by a cluster of dark, rock 'n' roll, and horror themed gouache-on-paper pieces by Audrey Erickson. Her series of striking and bold pieces have even more punny titles including Vampurr Pussy, Bride of Furankenstein, and Meowl at the Moon. This wordplay theme pervades the exhibit and was further accentuated at the opening (thank you, organizers, for pumping Cat Power over the sound system).
Based on initial reaction, or possibly primal urge, it was hard not to swoon over the sweetest, most realistic, straightforward depictions of domestic cats: Ryan Jone's multiple oil paintings of kitties, innocent with paws together, squeezing their eyes closed, looking upward with big, plaintive eyes. This series, with colorful geometric shapes behind each cat, names every piece with a word that is probably the nom de cat (Hyphy, Fatty, Bogie, Le Tigre). I heard an collective "aww" when a group came upon these final show pieces during the opening.
The show is a mostly light-hearted take on the theme, as you might expect. But must art always maintain an underlying seriousness? I say no. "Apocalypse Meow" continues through June 4 at Space Gallery, 1141 Polk (at Sutter). The gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, and the show is definitely worth a visit. In fact, for what it aims to be, it's damn near purrfect (emphasis, sadly, mine).
For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section.