Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Anatomical Theatre Opening
My photography show Anatomical Theatre: Depictions of The Body, Disease, and Death in Medical Museums of the Western World opened in Birmingham, Alabama last Thursday. For the opening, I was asked to deliver a 45 minute lecture and slide show; I chose to speak (and show) about my travels, the travails of small medical museums the world over, and the history of "morbid" amusements, arts, and cultural practices before the 20th century sensibility of denial-of-death emerged to make such amusements SEEM morbid, such as memorial photography, memento mori, the danse macabre, popular anatomical museums, public executions, death masks, and, of course, the anatomical theatre itself.
The people who attended the lecture and the opening were much more receptive than I had dreamed they would be; they asked me many interesting questions after the lecture, and people stuck around for the reception and really looked at the photos, asked me yet more questions, and even seemed to read the wall text. I met a bunch of really interesting people, and I had a great time.
Thanks so much to historian and friend Emily Nelms, of Vulcan's Muse Blog, for so kindly supplying all the photos from the opening reception and lecture, featured here. You can view more images from the opening and lecture here, of the show itself here, and of the oddly positive Birmingham, Alabama press here. You can also read the press release here if you are so inclined.