Throughout August, Times Square will be overrun by glowing cats in a new digital film by artist Jennifer West

As part of Times Square Arts' Midnight Moment series, the LA-based artist presents a film and online programme with works from Fischli & Weiss, Joyce Wieland, Sarah Zucker, Cory Arcangel, Mark Leckey and more.

5 August 2021


For all avid cat fans out there, you’ll be delighted to hear that New York's Times Square is being decorated in furry felines for an entire month with a film by Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer West. Titled Painted Cat Hacker Film, the video is being presented throughout August across more than 75 billboards as part of Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment series – the world's “largest, longest-running digital art exhibition”. And every evening, glowing cats will take over the square from 11:57pm to midnight.

The programme serves as a public commentary of the ways in which cat videos and memes have taken over the internet, from YouTube to TikTok, Facebook and Twitter. Alongside procrastination and enjoyment, research has proven that watching online cat videos is linked to positive mental wellbeing. So to expand on the topic, West has compiled an online programme of cat films and videos, aptly named Cats on Video and Cats on Film, which are available to watch online. Elsewhere, artists such as Fischli & Weiss, Maya Deren, Joyce Wieland, Carolee Schneemann, Sarah Zucker, Cory Arcangel, Mark Leckey and more are presenting their own cat video works too.

West is known for her exploration of materials in film, and has been working in her medium for over 15 years. In this latest release, West has compiled 16mm clips of cats against a green screen, portrayed in a lo-fi aesthetic. “Manipulating the celluloid in her signature style, West applied bright coloured by to the filmstrip before transferring it to high-definition video,” states the press release. The result is a series of digital GIFS that “pays homage to the feline’s role across many moving image genres”, from viral videos to experimental films, and now the screens of Times Square.

Times Square Arts: Jennifer West, Cat Hacker Film (Copyright © Jennifer West, 2021)

GalleryTimes Square Arts: Jennifer West, Cat Hacker Film (Copyright © Jennifer West, 2021)


Photo by Tatyana Tenenbaum


Photo by Mary Colon

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Times Square Arts: Jennifer West, Cat Hacker Film. Photo by Mary Colon (Copyright © Jennifer West, 2021)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima. 

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