Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Past Life: The Artwork of Candice Angelini; A New Film by Morbid Anatomy Museum Filmmaker in Residence Ronni Thomas


Our good friend--and former filmmaker in residence at The Morbid Anatomy Museum--Ronni Thomas just launched his newest film, about the artwork of Candice Angelini. You can see the film above; you can also see it--along with many of Ronni's other excellent films--at The Midnight Archive.

Here is what Ronni has to say about the film; hope you enjoy!
When I was introduced to artist Candice Angelini it was like a flash of lightning. Her masks, dolls and head dress work were the type of uncanny, one of a kind creations I am in constant search of.  And then I heard her story. I knew I needed to fly to southern France to capture her unique and mysterious process. Here in my latest film, this former asylum nurse details how her artwork is a sort of cleansing of her previous lives. I hope you find her work and her personality as charming as I do. Her work and all my films are freely available at themidnightarchive.com

Monday, October 1, 2018

Muerte en Bolivia: Field trip to La Paz to Learn About Bolivia's Folklore, Death Culture, and Sacred Coca Leaf

We now have full information, and tickets available, for our upcoming trip to Bolivia. Hope to see you there!

Muerte en Bolivia: Field trip to La Paz to Learn About Bolivia's Folklore, Death Culture, and Sacred Coca Leaf
Field trip to Bolivia for Day of the Skulls (Dia de los Ñatitas), coca leaf and witchcraft markets, Pre-Columbian mummies and ruins, Cholita wrestling, and much more!
Monday, November 5 - Sunday, November 11, 2018
DEADLINE FOR SIGNUP: October 15, 2018
Number of attendees: 10
$2100 (Deposit of $1050 due to secure spot; will be refunded if trip cancelled because not able to get enough attendees)
INCLUDES: Hotel (single room occupancy), transportation during duration of tour, all attraction admissions, breakfasts, and one dinner
DOES NOT INCLUDE: Airfare, visas, tips. transportation to and from airport. lunches or most dinners
* We HIGHLY recommend you arrive La Paz Friday November 2 or Sat November 3 to acclimate to the altitude, which is no joke here) 
*** US residents, and some others, will need to get visa; this can be done before or at airport but HIGHLY ADVISE BEFORE. More here  
Email morbidanatomylibrary [at] gmail.com to sign up

This November, join Morbid Anatomy for a very special seven day trip to La Paz, Bolivia where, with a local professioanl guide, we'll explore the country's fascinating history, folklore, and death-related traditions, a unique blend of ancient native beliefs and Spanish Catholicism. We'll also learn the storied history of--and have ample opportunities to sample--the coca leaf, sacred plant of the Andes.

We'll visit La Paz's central cemetery for Day of the Skulls (Dia de los Ñatitas), in which human skulls are given offerings of coca leaves, cigarettes and flower petals; the El Alto Shaman's market and the famed witchcraft market with shops selling dried llama fetuses to bless new constructions, magical charms, and colorful figurines of devils and skeleton saints; and the coca leaf market.

Other highlights will include visits to La Paz's Museo de la Coca, the pre-Columbian ruins of Tiwanaku and the tropical Afro Bolivian town of Coroico, a visit to a studio that produces costumes and masks for La Paz's famed festivals, Cholita wrestling, a wildlife preserve, the surreal landscape of Valle de la Luna, gorgeous colonial churches and convents, and museums packed with astounding treasures.

There will also be opportunities to eat native foods, explore markets, and learn the ancient Andean art of coca leaf consumption and its history as a sacred plant. Along the way, we'll learn from our knowledgeable tour guide about the folklore and beliefs of this unique culture, past and present.

ITINERARY
Please Note: Exact itinerary might change, but all listed attractions will be included

Day 1 (Monday, November 5)
Town overview by Funicular
El Alto
Markets, shamans market
Buy coca leaves and instruction in consumption

Day 2 (Tuesday, November 6)
Museo Nacional de Arte (National Museum of Art)
San Francisco Church and San Francisco Church Museum
Witchcraft Market
Folkloric dinner (included with ticket price)

Day 3 (Wednesday, November 7):
Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) 
Coca Museum
National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore

Day 4 (Thursday, November 8)
La Paz' national cemetery for Dia de los Natitas (Day of the Skulls)

Day 5 (Friday, November 9)
Coroico: The Yungas; tropical area settled by Afro Bolivians (day trip, drive from Andes to tropical region)
Coca Market
Senda Verde Wildlife preserve
Coffee plantation

Day 6 (Saturday, November 10)
Tiwanaku pre-columbian archaeological site
Visit to masks and costume studio

Day 7 (Sunday, November 11)
Cholita Wresling
Independent city exploration; churches, markets, museums. and cemetery

Day 8: (Monday, November 12)
Check out of hotel
Flights home

Images, top to bottom: Getty Images; Sky News; LatinoFiesta

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Morbid Anatomy Vienna Anatomy Weekend at the Narrenturm and the Josephinum: Registration Now Open!



Morbid Anatomy Vienna Anatomy Weekend at the Narrenturm and the Josephinum
Vienna, Austria
October 13 and 14, 2018
All programs will be in English.

DUE TO LIMITED SPACE, *** MUST*** REGISTER IN ADVANCE

For Josephiunum Events:
E-Mail: josephinum@meduniwien.ac.at
Phone: +43 1 40160 26001

For Narrenturm Events:
E-Mail: pas@nhm-wien.ac.at
Phone: +43 1 521 77 606

Please join us this October as we partner with two of the world's most magnificent medical museums--The Josephinum, housing a historical collection of 18th century anatomical wax models crafted by Italy's La Specola workshop, and the pathological-anatomical collection housed in an 18th century former madhouse, the Narrenturm.

Also, please note: this will be one of your last chances to see The Josephinum before it closes down for renovations!

This special weekend will include exclusive front and back stage tours of these incredible historic collections, along with the opportunity to make your own wax moulage and draw 18th century wax models removed from their cases. It will also include illustrated lectures by Eduard Winter of the Narrenturm, conservator Martina Peters of the Josephinum, medical illustrator Marie Dauhiemer, wax artist Eleanor Crook, and Morbid Anatomy's Joanna Ebenstein, all touching on the intersections of art and medicine, death and culture.

SCHEDULE

Saturday October 13
  • Tours, lectures and drawing from the specimens workshop at the Josephinum
  • Tours at the Narrenturm
Sunday October 14
  • Tours and moulage making workshop at the Narrenturm
FULL SCHEDULE: SATURDAY OCTOBER 13

Josephinum
  • Lectures, guided tours, and workshop
  • Lectures and guided tour: 40 EUR per person
  • Guided tour (without lectures): 25 EUR per person
  • Drawing workshop (with original, uncased wax models from the collection): 35 EUR per person (all materials provided)

10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Lectures
12:00 pm – 13:00 pm – Lunch break
13:00 pm – 14:30 pm – Drawing workshop, guided tour
14:30 pm – 15:00 pm – Coffee break (Lesesaal-Josephinum, incl. coffee, cold drinks and snacks)
15:00 pm – 16:30 pm – Drawing workshop, guided tour
17:00 pm – 18:30 pm – guided tour

Lectures
  1. Eduard Winters of the Narrenturm: The Pathologic-anatomical Collection Vienna Preparations from the Last 222 Years
  2. Martina Peters of the Josephinum: Waxworks at the Josephinum: History and Technology
  3. Marie Dauhiemer of The Vesalius Trust: Bernard Siegfried Albinius, Jan Wandelaar, and the Creation of Homo Perfectus
  4. Wax Anatomical Artist Eleanor Crook: Wax Moulage: Trophies of the Extremes of Human Experience
  5. Morbid Anatomy's Joanna Ebenstein The Anatomical Venus: An Enlightenment-era St. Teresa Ravished by Communion with the Invisible Forces of Science

Guided tours

The guided tours will offer deeper look into the Josephinum’s extensive collection of historical anatomical wax models back and front stage. Attendees will learn about human anatomy with the help of the historic waxworks. They will also see the extensive collection of pathological obstetric wax models learn about the history and origin of the collections and museum.

The tours will also include a visit backstage to the conservation atelier, where you will learn about the challenges of the artefact’s protection and maintenance. We will also see The Josephinum’s unique collection of ophthalmological 19th century wax moulages; crafted by by Johann Hofmayer under supervision of Professor Anton von Rosas, they are not generally on view to the public.

Workshop

In this workshop, Martina Peters, conservator at the Josephinum, will guide students in drawing wax anatomical models from the collection. Two original 18th century models will be removed from their historic glass cases to allow for a more detailed study. The participants will hereby have the opportunity to explore human anatomy in the classical 18th century manner. All material--including sketch blocks, pencils (HB, 2B and 6B), erasers and sharpeners as well as easels--will be provided.

Narrenturm

Open hours at the museum are from 10-13h. We will provide English guided tours every hour, starting at 10am, 11am and 12am. The tour will take you through the study collection of the museum. We will charge the normal (opening hours) fee of 8€ per person. Each tour will last 45 minutes.

SUNDAY, 14TH OF OCTOBER 2018

Narrenturm4 different tours, 15 participants each, 1 hour each
10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, and 2:30 pm
1 tour: 12€ each
3 or 4 tours: 10€ each
Wax moulage making workshop: 50 €

 TOURS
  • Architecture
  •  Study collection plus extra rooms (not included in the opening hour tours)
  • Gynaecology + Electropathology + Veterinary pathologies
  • Behind the scenes
Wax Moulage Making Workshop with Ceroplast Eleanor Crook 10 am and 1 pm, maximum 12 people
2 classes with 12 participants for each class
50€ all materials included

Let acclaimed sculptor Eleanor Crook guide you in creating your very own wax pathology sculpture. Crook has lent her experience to professionals ranging from forensic law enforcement officers to plastic surgeons, so is well placed to help you make a horrendously lifelike model of leprosy, syphilis, scars, boils or blisters, - any dermatological case. Each participant will end up with a mounted wax face moulage to keep, and will learn wax modelling the details, colouring , hair insertion and the traditional presentation method using a bandage and pins on a board for wall hanging. Materials and tools will be explained and demonstrated, disease processes illustrated, dire pathologies imitated, and the afflicted face of an unfortunate will eventually grace your home.

Eleanor Crook trained in sculpture at Central St Martins and the Royal Academy and makes figures and effigies in wax, carved wood and lifelike media. She has also made a special study of anatomy and has sculpted anatomical and pathological waxworks for the Gordon Museum of Pathology at Guy's Hospital, London's Science Museum, and the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Vrolik Museum Amsterdam.She exhibits internationally in both fine art and science museum contexts. In the interest of making figures more lifelike than the living, using a generous grant from the Wellcome Trust she developed the incorporation of electronic animatronics systems into the sculptures so that her moribund and macabre creations now can twitch and mutter. She is artist in residence at the Gordon Museum of Pathology, a member of the Medical Artists' Association, runs a course in Anatomy drawing at the Camberwell School of Art and restores historic wax medical collections for a number of institutions.

Top image: 18th century Anatomical Venus; Alexander Ablogin/Josephinum. All others by Joanna Ebenstein.



Monday, September 10, 2018

EXHIBITION: Bridging Two Worlds: The Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead

"Dante's Inferno", Unknown Artist, found in Mid-Western US, circa 1940's - 1950's, Courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery
We are delighted to announce a new exhibition we have produced as part of our autumn residency at Green-Wood Cemetery. Entitled Bridging Two Worlds: The Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead, the exhibition will explore, via objects and artworks drawn from collection of the greater Morbid Anatomy Community and Green-Wood Historic Fund, the ways in which we conceptualize and attempt to stay in contact with the realm of the dead.

The exhibition be on from view Saturday, September 22 through Sunday, December 2 at Green-Wood Cemetery's spectacular 19th century Fort Hamilton Gatehouse, and will feature pieces ranging from a Ghanian figurative coffin to Catholic relics to outsider art to spirit photographs to contemporary fine art, drawn from The Morbid Anatomy Collection, Green-Wood Historic Fund, The Brooklyn Public Library, Stephen Romano Gallery, Cole Harrell Gallery and Invisible Gallery and the private collections of Laetitia Barbier, Doug DeFeis, Joanna Ebenstein, Erika Larsen, Sherry Kerlin, Evan Michelson, Sarah Murray, Rebecca Purcell, Shannon Taggart, Mallorie Vaudoise and Cathy Ward.

On Friday, September 21, we hope you'll join us for our opening party, where you can meet artists and collectors and enjoy music and refreshments after-hours at the cemetery; more on that here.

You can find out more about the exhibition below. Very much hope to see you there!

Bridging Two Worlds: The Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead
Saturday, September 22 - Sunday, Dec 2, 2018
Weekends 12 - 5
Free and open to the public
The Fort Hamilton Gatehouse at Green-Wood Cemetery (Hamilton Parkway and Micieli Place, F and G trains at Fort Hamilton Station or Church Street Station)
More here 

Today, many people see the death of the body as the end of life. For most of human history, however, many believed--as some still do--that the dead continued to live on after death in another, invisible world. These worlds could be bridged by individuals such as the shaman, medium, and the priest. There was also the psychopomp, whose job it was to guide the souls of the dead from this world to the next.

Bridges between the worlds could also take the form of practices, including rituals, ancestor worship, sacrificial offerings, and prayer. Some cultures even believed that there were special times of the year when the boundaries between the worlds were particularly porous, allowing the dead to pay a visit to the land of the living, such as Mexico's Day of the Dead or Chinese New Year.

Today, we continue to create metaphoric bridges between the land of the living and the land of the dead; doctors and scientists define and defy the boundaries between the worlds, while the study of history, familial and cultural traditions, the contemplation of objects from the past, and monuments we build to remember the dead--including cemeteries such as Green-Wood--create bridges that allow us to honor and stay in communion with those we have lost.

This exhibition seeks to explore the ways in which we bridge the worlds of the living and the dead via objects and artworks drawn from collection of the greater Morbid Anatomy Community and Green-Wood Historic Fund

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Special Morbid Anatomy Taxidermy Tour with Dr Pat Morris, Taxidermy History Expert and Author of "Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy"

We are very excited to announce a special taxidermy tour this September featuring an exclusive chance to view rarely seen Walter Potter tableaux as well as private collections, historic mansions and 19th century museums--front and back stage--led by Dr Pat Morris, taxidermy historian and foremost collector of the work of eccentric Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter.
More information is below. Space is extremely limited. Please email us at morbidanatomy [a] gmail.com before July 26 if you might be interested in joining. More detailed information, booking form and request for a deposit will be mailed to you with a deadline of mid August to confirm your participation.
Taxidermy Tour: Behind the Scenes and Private Collection Taxidermy Tour with Dr Pat Morris, Taxidermy history expert and author of Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy
September 3-9, 2018
London and environs
$2000-$2200 (Exact number given when we determine the number of attendees; Includes hotels, transportation within the UK, museum admissions, and some meals. Attendees will be responsible for their own airfare to and from London.)
Trip limited to 9 plus 3 staff members.

Space is extremely limited. Please email us at morbidanatomy [a] gmail.com before July 26
if you might be interested in joining. More detailed information, booking form and request for a deposit will be mailed to you with a deadline of mid August to confirm your participation.

Please join us this September for an exclusive taxidermy tour featuring rarely seen Walter Potter pieces as well as private collections, historic mansions and 19th century museums--front and back stage--led by Dr Pat Morris, taxidermy historian and foremost collector of the work of eccentric Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter. He will be accompanied and assisted by Joanna Ebenstein, creator of Morbid Anatomy and co-author and lead photographer on Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy, and Laetitia Barbier, Morbid Anatomy head librarian.

On this trip. we'll pay several visits Dr Morris' house, where we will see rarely seen Walter Potter pieces, including one of his most famous tableaux, The Death and Burial of Cock Robin (1861). We will also see the tableau A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed, Potter's stuffed pet cat and dog, and his first piece of taxidermy, a canary along with rare archival materials, books, magic lantern slides, and ephemera related to the Potter Museum.

The Morris Collection also contains pieces by around 150 taxidermists, including Hermann Ploucquet, whose anthropomorphic pieces delighted Queen Victoria and probably inspired a young Potter, as well as Rowland Ward and Peter Spicer; thousands of documents and photographs; and copies of all the books on taxidermy published in Britain (some not even in the British Library!) and a selection of works from other countries. 
We will also visit the home of professional taxidermist Barry Williams, which houses his personal extensive collection of historic specimens. We will see him at work, and join him for afternoon tea while we enjoy a tour of his collection.
The trip will also feature special guided tours by Dr Morris of the UK's most historic and fascinating natural history collections, such as Tring Natural History Museum, opened in 1892 to make available to the public the private collation of rich eccentric Lionel Walter Rothschild; The Booth Museum of Natural History, founded in 1874 and featuring  pioneering ‘habitat group’ displays from the 19th century; The Horniman Museum, founded to showcase the Frederick John Horniman personal collection 'illustrating natural history and the arts and handicrafts of various peoples of the world' from around 1860 (with a visit to the Museum’s store to see the beautiful Hart collection of British birds); The Grant Museum of Zoology, one of the oldest natural history collections in the UK famous for its jar of moles and rare specimens such as a qyuagga skeleton, preserved Tazmanian Tigers, and dodo bones; the London Natural History Museum a 19th century 'cathedral to nature' housing its infamous hummingbird cabinet; The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art and Natural History, which presents the world displayed through wonder enclosed within a tiny space, inspired by the pre-enlightenment origins of the museum as Wunderkabinett; and The Saffron Walden Museum with a small natural history collection dating to 1832 and ‘Wallace’ a famous lion. There will also be a stop off to experience "human taxidermy" in the form of the auto-icon of Jeremy Bentham.

There will also be special guided tours of two magnificent National Trust historic mansions: Calke Abbey; this is a huge mansion originally built in the 12th century as an Augustinian priory and housing a varied collection of stuffed birds, mammals, fossils, and other natural history oddities gathered by a succession of the eccentric owners who lived there over the centuries and Audley End House, a mansion built in the early 17th century and housing the second largest display of historic country house taxidermy open to the public in Britain including many spectacular ornamental bird cases
Some evenings may be devoted to talks by Dr Morris on topics such as ‘historical taxidermy’ and the massive Van Ingen factory in India illustrated by pieces from Dr Morris' collection.




Thursday, June 21, 2018

SAVE THE DATE: Muerte en Bolivia: Field trip to La Paz to Learn about Bolivia's Death Culture, Folklore, and Sacred Coca Leaf with a Native Guide!

This November, we hope you'll join Morbid Anatomy for a very special seven day trip to La Paz, Bolivia where, with a native guide, we'll explore the country's fascinating history, folklore, and death-related traditions, a unique blend of ancient native beliefs and Spanish Catholicism. We'll also learn the storied history of--and have ample opportunities to sample--the coca leaf, sacred plant of the Andes.

We'll visit La Paz's central cemetery for Festival of the Skulls (Fiesta de los Ñatitas), in which human skulls are given offerings of coca leaves, cigarettes and flower petals; the famed witches market, with shops selling dried llama fetuses to bless new constructions, magical charms, and colorful figurines of devils and skeleton saints; and the coca leaf market. Other highlights will include visits to La Paz's Museo de la Coca, the Unesco World Heritage site of the pre-Columbian ruins of Tiwanaku, a blessing of the cars at Lake Titicaca's Copacabana, a visit to the tropical Afro Bolivian town of Coroico, Cholita wrestling, gorgeous colonial churches and convents, and museums packed with astounding treasures. There will also be opportunities to eat native foods, explore markets, and learn the ancient Andean art of coca leaf consumption. Along the way, we'll learn from our knowledgeable tour guide about the folklore and beliefs of this unique culture, past and present. 

More soon; stay tuned! 

Images, top to bottom: Getty Images; Sky News; LatinoFiesta

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

New Book on the Art, History and Symbolism of The Tarot by Morbid Anatomy and Strange Attractor Press!


We at Morbid Anatomy are delighted to announce a new project with our good friend Mark Pilkington at Strange Attractor Press: a new illustrated book about the art and history of the tarot. We are just launching a campaign via Unbound in order to help us raise the funds we need to create it. Awards range from a pre-order of the book to include signed, limited edition hardback versions of the book, tarot readings and classes, custom totes, and much more! You can find out more about the book below; you can find out more about our fundraising campaign– and pre-order a copy of the book! – by clicking here. Thanks so much for your interest and support!

Stars, Fools and Lovers will explore the art, history and symbolism of the tarot through dozens of antique and forgotten cards, from the well-known Rider Waite Smith deck to Austin Osman Spare's recently discovered Major Arcana, as well as reinterpretations by contemporary artists.

The tarot's origins stretch back to ancient Egypt but the cards as we know them today have their roots in 18th century Europe as playing cards. Since then, the seventy-eight card deck has become one of the most popular visual oracles of all time, and one of the most adaptable as well. Along the way it has inspired seekers, occultists, artists, film makers, writers, pop stars and fashion designers -- its influence can be seen in the work of the Surrealists as well as the TV series Twin Peaks.

Perhaps the reason for this is because the tarot has an uncanny ability to put us in touch with truths of which we are not consciously aware. The tarot, with its intuitive symbology, provides a bridge to our own unconscious. Or, as some believe, it provides access to invisible worlds beyond our understanding. Regardless of your beliefs and approach, our new book Stars, Fools and Lovers will provide you with the tools you need – along with a wealth of visual inspiration – to begin your own exploration of its complex and rich world.

Stars, Fools and Lovers will contain an array of cards drawn from original and forgotten decks as well as creative reimaginings by contemporary artists. Alongside these images, the book will explore how, over centuries of use, the tarot’s archetypal imagery has evolved and the cards' meanings have shifted. It will investigate the hidden history and many interpretations of the Major Arcana, deciphering the archetypes behind each figure and plumbing their complex histories, and trace the ways in which artists and illustrators from around the world have reinterpreted the Arcanas according to their cultural backgrounds and the problems they faced.

This book includes a history of the tarot and its use, as well as instructions on how to read the cards intuitively, to follow its traditions without dogma and suggests ways to experiment with the cards to find inspiration and enlightenment. The book will also present the thoughts of a variety of professional tarot readers about the pleasures and pitfalls of practical cartomancy.

Written and collected by Morbid Anatomy's Joanna Ebenstein and Laetitia Barbier – herself a professional tarot reader – and Strange Attractor Press's Mark Pilkington, this book is equal parts art book, how-to, history, and a meditation on tarot symbolism and its uses.

Biographies of the authors:

Joanna Ebenstein is a Brooklyn-based artist, writer and the founder of Morbid Anatomy. She is the editor of Death: A Graveside Companion (2017), author of The Anatomical Venus (2016) and co-author of Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy (2014).

After studying art history at the Sorbonne in Paris, Laetitia Barbier became the head librarian of Morbid Anatomy and is a professional tarot reader in New York.

Mark Pilkington is the founder of the London-based Strange Attractor Press and the editor of its irregular Journal. He is the author of Mirage Men (2010) and Far Out: 101 Strange Tales from Science's Outer Edge (2007). He has written on music, art, film, cultural history and esoterica for publications including The Guardian, Frieze, Fortean Times, Boing Boing, The Wire, Sight and Sound, and has contributed to numerous anthologies.

Again, you can make a pledge or pre-order a copy of the book here. Thanks so much for your interest and support!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

SAVE THE DATE Vienna Anatomy Weekend with Josephinum & Narrenturm, October 13 and 14, 2018

We are beyond excited to announce our second Vienna Anatomy Weekend in partnership with two of the world's most magnificent medical museums-- the Josephinum, housing a historical collection of 18th century anatomical wax models crafted by Italy's La Specola workshop, and the pathological-anatomical collection housed in an 18th century former madhouse, the Narrenturm.

This special weekend will include exclusive front and back stage tours of these incredible historic collections, along with the opportunity to draw pieces from the collection. It will also include illustrated lectures by Eduard Winter of the Narrenturm, Martina Peters of the Josephinum, Laurens de Rooy of Amsterdam's Vrolik Museum, wax artist Eleanor Crook, and Morbid Anatomy's Joanna Ebenstein, all touching on the intersections of art and medicine, death and culture.

All programs will be in English.

More details to come soon, but you can stay alerted to updates here.

Image: 18th century Anatomical Venus; Alexander Ablogin/Josephinum

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Vesalius Trust Art and Anatomy Tour: Budapest, Vienna and Prague, October 7-18, 2018



I am delighted to announce The Vesalius Trust Art and Anatomy Tour of Budapest, Vienna and Prague taking place October 7-18, 2018!

The trip--organized and hosted by Morbid Anatomy founder Joanna Ebenstein and medical illustrator Marie Dauenheimer--will include guided visits (and often exclusive behind the scenes tours) of some of the most outstanding European medical museums including Budapest's Semmelweis Museum (bottom image), Vienna's Josephinum (top three images) and Narrenturm (images 4-7), and The Prague Medical Museum and the National Medical Library.

It will also include a sunset cruise on the Danube, visits to Budapest's Castle Hill, a stop off in Bratislava, a guided walking tour of Vienna, a visit to the Secession building, as well aa guided tours of Vienna's Albertina Museum and Belvedere Museum, the latter of which is renowned for its collection of works by Klimt and Schiele. There will also be a stop off at the UNESCO world heritage town Český Krumlov and a visit to its Baroque theater--the most completely preserved such theatre in the world--along with a guided walking tour of Prague featuring a visit to its famous 16th-century astronomical clock with an anthropomorphized figure of death

The trip will take place October 7-18, 2018.The tour price--assuming a shared room--is $4,645. This price included all hotels and transportation by deluxe, private motor coach. It also includes breakfast, many lunches, admission to the Morbid Anatomy Vienna Anatomy Weekend, all museum entries, and more. Our founder Joanna Ebenstein and Marie Dauenheimer will also be on hand for the duration of the trip to answer questions and assist.

You can find out more by clicking here. If you have any questions, please email us at morbidanatomy [at] gmail.com.

All images by our founder, Joanna Ebenstein

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Farewell Mel Gordon

We are Morbid Anatomy are greatly saddened to hear that our good friend--and many times collaborator--Mel Gordon has died. Mel was a very special man, with a brilliant and idiosyncratic mind and a great generosity of spirit. We at Morbid Anatomy feel very lucky to have known him.

RIP Mel. You will be very much missed.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Morbid Anatomy Easter Open House at Green-Wood Cemetery

This Easter week-end (March 31 and April 1), a propitious date for resurrection, please join Morbid Anatomy's Joanna Ebenstein and Laetitia Barbier for an informal gathering, with snacks and refreshments, to celebrate the unveiling of the Morbid Anatomy Library in it's new home, the gorgeous 1877 Fort Hamilton Gate House in Green-Wood Cemetery.

This will also be your first chance to see our new exhibition The Power of Images: Life, Death and Rebirth, a carefully curated selection of art, books, artifacts and ephemera drawn from the Green-Wood archives and the hands and collections of the Morbid Anatomy Community.

Find out more here. Hope very much to see you there!

The Fort Hamilton Gate House is located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Micieli Place, easily accessible on the F and G trains at Fort Hamilton Station. If arriving at the main entrance (25th Street and 5th Avenue) the Gate House is approximately a 25 minute walk through the Cemetery. The exhibition is not handicap accessible.

Image: From the Green-Wood Cemetery website

Thursday, March 15, 2018

ANNOUNCEMENT: Morbid Anatomy Residency at Brooklyn's Historic Green-Wood Cemetery!



We are beyond delighted to announce that Morbid Anatomy has a found a temporary new home at Brooklyn's fabulous Green-Wood Cemetery!

The residency will be housed in The Cemetery's city landmark 1877 Fort Hamilton Gatehouse (see below). In the attic (below left) will find a new iteration of the Morbid Anatomy Library. Downstairs will feature The Power of Images: Life, Death, and Rebirth, a new exhibition curated by Morbid Anatomy's Laetitia Barbier and Joanna Ebenstein and featuring artworks, artifacts and ephemera from the hand (or private collections) of Kahn and Selesnick, Dana Sherwood, Rebecca Purcell, Ryan Matthew Cohn, Shannon Taggart, Lourdes Sanchez, The Stephen Romano Gallery, Invisible Gallery, Evan Michelson, The Reanimation Library, Friese Undine, J D Powe, Ronni Thomas, Daisy Tainton, Lado Pochkhua, Brian Cotnoir, Joel Schlemowitz, Eva Aridjis, the Green-Wood Cemetery Archives and more.

The Fort Hamilton Gatehouse is right inside the Fort Hamilton gate, located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Micieli Place, easily accessible on the F and G trains at Fort Hamilton Station or Church Street Station. If arriving at the main entrance (25th Street and 5th Avenue) the Gate House is approximately a 25 minute walk through the Cemetery. The exhibition is not handicap accessible.

The residency will be free and open to the public on weekends, March 31 - June 24, 2018, from 12 - 5. We will also be producing a series of lectures, events, tours and parties as part of the residency; stay tuned for more on that.

We are currently seeking volunteer docents for both the library and exhibition. The shifts will be from 12-5 Saturdays and Sundays, and there is parking on the premises. Sadly, there is no wifi. Docents will receive free admission to one of our Green-wood events in exchange for a shift. If you are interested, please email morbidanatomy [at] gmail.com.

Hope very much to see you there!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Winners of Death: A Graveside Companion Art and Death Book Giveaway!

Thanks to all who entered our recent giveaway of three signed copies of our new book Death: A Graveside Companion, our new, heavily illustrated magnum opus documenting the variety of ways humankind has come to terms with, imagined, visualized and pictured death.

In the spirit of the book, we asked Morbid Anatomy readers to share an image of their favorite artwork or artifact illustrating the intersections of death and beauty, and to tell us about the piece and why they chose it. 

It was very difficult to choose between all the wonderful and imaginative entries, but above are the three images we chose, submitted by--from top to bottom--Instagram user @dagger_of_the_mind, J. Moriarty and Lynn Duenow.

The first image is "Revelation: The Vision of Death," one of 241 illustrations created by Gustave Doré for a deluxe illustrated bible known as La Grande Bible de Tours in 1866. This image was chosen by @dagger_of_the_mind, who said of it "The Artist's command of contrast, the human form, and the inhuman realize the myths that comprise the human condition. And it's badass"

The second image--"Humana Fragilitas (Human Frailty)", painted by by Salvator Rosa in 1656, was sent in by J. Moriarty. Of the piece, the entrant commented "with its many symbols of human mortality scattered throughout, this painting deeply illuminates the fact that the strands of death are as naturally woven into the fabric of our days as are the threads of life. Death here is at once terrifying and beautiful, perfectly capturing the ambivalent relationship we humans with it have. A enchantingly poignant work by such a profoundly bereaved artist, it demonstrates that Death can be a catalyst for the beauteous as much as for the destructive."

The final image was sent in by Lynn Dueno. Lynn did not share any information about the provenance or creator of the piece but we were very much drawn by its folk/tribal aspect which evokes a Kachina Doll. Upon closer inspection, you can see that the crown is composed of illustrations of moulages, while other seemingly abstract patterns are comprised of golden insects and other macabre symbols. Click the image above to see for yourself!

Thanks so much to all who entered! And congratulations to the winners!

You can find out more about the book--and get a copy of your own--here.








Monday, November 27, 2017

RIP Mervyn Heard: Friend, Scholar, Showman

We are very sad to report the death of the wonderful Mervyn Heard. A rare pairing of scholar and showman, he was a genius of the magic lantern, ghost shows and phantasmagoria, and was a contributor to our recent book Death: A Graveside Companion.

He was also a friend and will be sorely missed.

This video by the über-talented Ronni Thomas captures he and his passion exceptionally well. RIP, Mervyn. You shall be missed and remembered.


Monday, November 13, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Win a Signed Copy of our New Book Death: A Graveside Companion


We are delighted to announce a give away of three signed copies of our new book Death: A Graveside Companion, a nearly 400 page compendium of 1,000 images and 19 essays exploring a variety of ways in which humankind has come to terms with, imagined, visualized and pictured death.

In the spirit of the book, we are asking Morbid Anatomy readers to share an image of their favorite artwork or artifact that illustrates the intersections of death and beauty, and to tell us--in no more than 3 sentences--about the piece and why they chose it. 

Entries must be received by midnight on Sunday, November 19th; the three winners will be picked and announced here soon after. PLEASE NOTE: Due to shipping costs, contest only eligible to those in the USA.

There are three ways to enter this contest.
  1. Share in the comment section of this Facebook post
  2. Post on Instagram with the hashtag #deathbookgiveaway
  3. Send it via email to morbidanatomylibrary [at] gmail [dot] com.
Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Images: From FrizziFrizzi review of the book to be found here.