Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Obscura Antiques and Oddities, NYC
Long before Cabinets of Curiosity made their way to Barney's, Damien Hirst unveiled his diamond-encrusted skull, and Marilyn Manson made news for his compulsive collecting of dead children, there was Obscura Antiques and Oddities. Less a store than a museum you can shop at, Obscura, located in the East Village, is, by far, my favorite shop in New York City.
Stock varies, but on a given day, here are some things you're likely to come across: anatomical models, memorial photographs, medical art prints, taxedermied pets, shadow boxes, fraternal organization memorabilia, prosthetic limbs, victorian mourning jewelry, magic lantern slides, collections of pinned insects, funeraral ephemera, stereoscopopic cards, carnival castoffs, two headed fetal pigs, a jar of worms, corsets, top hats, glass fronted cabinets, victorian vitrines ... the list goes on. Don't be intimidated by their celebrity clientele (they feed the habits of The Sedarises and Chloë Sevigny, among others) or the uber-hip east-village customers you might see within; the proprietors are very friendly and extremely knowledgable, and you'll probably leave knowing something you didn't know before. See above photos for details of merchandise over the past few years.