Monday, June 8, 2009

Upcoming Observatory Presentation: "An Iconography of the Industrial Body," Michael Sappol, Friday June 19th, 7:30 PM

An Iconography of the Industrial Body: Fritz Kahn, Popular Medical Illustration and the Visual Rhetoric of Modernity
A presentation by Michael Sappol, author of A Traffic of Dead Bodies
Friday June 19th
7:30 PM

This talk focuses on the publications of Fritz Kahn (1888-1968), a German-Jewish physician. Between 1920 and 1950, Kahn was a widely-read author of books and articles for the general public on medicine, health and science. His principal works, Das Leben des Menschen [The Life of Man] (5 vols.; Stuttgart, 1922-31) and Der Mensch: Gesund und Krank [Man: In Health and Sickness] (2 vols.; Zürich, 1939) feature thousands of illustrations. Influenced by Dada, neue Sachlichkeit, surrealism, futurism, Bauhaus, constructivism, Art Deco, neo-classicism, comic strips, photomontage, and advertising graphics, Kahn, and the artists working under his direction, visually explained how the human body works, based on the findings of modern biological science. At the same time, the images refer back to the chaos, violence, impasses, pleasures, dreams, and technological and sociocultural ambitions of early and mid-20th-century Germany. Kahn deployed a visual vocabulary of modernism to figure industrial modernity within the body and the body within industrial modernity. The result was a corpus of images and tropes which imagined a new body for the modern age.

Image: Fritz Kahn, Das Leben des Menschen 5 (1931): 53.
Retinal imaging and halftone printing compared.
Artist: Roman Rechn.

Observatory is located at 543 Union Street at Nevins.

Enter Observatory via Proteus Gowanus Gallery
R or M train to Union Street in Brooklyn: Walk two long blocks on Union (towards the Gowanus Canal) to Nevins Street. 543 Union Street is the large red brick building on right. Go right on Nevins and left down alley through large black gates. Gallery is the second door on the left.

F or G train to Carroll Street: Walk one block to Union. Turn right, walk two long blocks on Union towards the Gowanus Canal, cross the bridge, take left on Nevins, go down the alley to the second door on the left.

More information here on the Observatory website; you can visit that by clicking here.

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