Thursday, March 4, 2010

Morbid Anatomy Presents at Observatory: 3 March Events

We at Morbid Anatomy are pleased to present three great upcoming lectures at Observatory this month--one to take place tonight! One more event--a panel discussion on Modern Ruins and the Post-Industrial Sublime, to take place on March 25th--will be announced very soon. Hope to see you at one or all of these great presentations!
"Death Becomes Them" Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious; a reading and lecture
Tonight! Thursday, March 4

Time: 8:00
Admission: $5.00

In Death Become Them, Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious, journalist/author Alix Strauss will discuss in an illustrated lecture based on her research for her book "Death Becomes Them," the phenomenon and history of suicide and the seductive appeal of celebrity suicide in Western culture. Over the course of her lecture, she will present fascinating details leading up to the last days of icons of celebrity suicide such as Virginia Woolf, Sigmund Freud, Spalding Gray, Kurt Cobain, Diane Arbus, and Vincent van Gogh. After reading from selected passages, she will discuss the methodology, pathology, and psychology of these luminaries, with an eye towards understanding why such brilliant people all chose this particular end. She will also touch on society's needs to “mass mourn,” the cultural phenomenon of funerals, and the role that mental illness and addiction play in suicide.

Along with the reading and lecture, Alix will also do a quiz, complete with prizes. Specially packaged copies of "Death Become Them," which come with a Quija Board Key chain or a Happy Childhood Memories Spay, will be available for purchasing and signing. Those who buy copies will also get a special gift -- a small bottle of Funeral Home perfume, a coffin filled with skeleton mints or a waterproof mascara.

Alix Strauss is author of Death Become Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious. She also a media savvy social satirist, and featured lifestyle and trend writer. She is the author of the award winning short story collection, The Joy of Funerals (St. Martin's Press), and the forthcoming novel, Based Upon Availability, June of 2010 (Harper Collins). You can find out more about her book by clicking here. You can find out more at

“Imaging the Diorama:” An Illustrated Lecture with Diane Fox
Date: Thursday, March 11
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5.00

In 1889 Carl Akeley, working for the Milwaukee Public Museum, created the first total habitat diorama by arranging stuffed muskrats into a facsimile of their natural environment. While the originators of the diorama strove to heighten its sense of reality, many contemporary artists have used the medium’s format to comment on its artificiality or hyper reality.

This lecture will examine the work of several photographers who use the form of the natural history museum diorama to comment on the connection (or lack of connection) between the human and natural world.

Diane Fox is a Lecturer in the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she teaches graphic design and photography. Fox received her MFA from The University of Tennessee and her BFA from Middle Tennessee State University. Her current body of photographic work, "UnNatural History," is composed of images shot in various natural history museums in the US and Europe. Her solo exhibits have been exhibited in the Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA; Tower Fine Arts Gallery, SUNY Brockport, Brockport, NY; Gallery Stokes in Atlanta, GA; Santa Reparata Gallery, Florence Italy; Apex Gallery, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD; Sarratt Gallery, Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN; and Dom Muz Gallery, Torun, Poland among others. You can see some of her work at

The True and Horrid Story of Burke and Hare
An illustrated lecture and book signing by Lisa Rosner,
Professor of History at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Date: Thursday, March 18th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5

Up the close and down the stair,
But and Ben with Burke and Hare.
Burke's the butcher, Hare's the thief,
Knox the man who buys the beef.
—anonymous street song

On March 18, 2010, Lisa Rosner will be discussing the myths and realities of the Burke and Hare case, resurrected in her recent book The Anatomy Murders: Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh's Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes.

On Halloween night 1828, in the West Port district, a woman sometimes known as Madgy Docherty was last seen in the company of William Burke and William Hare. Days later, police discovered her remains in the surgery of the prominent anatomist Dr. Robert Knox. Docherty was the final victim of the most atrocious murder spree of the century, outflanking even Jack the Ripper's. Together with their accomplices, Burke and Hare were accused of killing sixteen people over the course of twelve months in order to sell their corpses as "subjects" for dissection. The ensuing criminal investigation raised troubling questions about the common practices by which medical men obtained cadavers, the lives of the poor in Edinburgh's back alleys, and the ability of the police to protect the public from cold-blooded murder.

Lisa Rosner is Professor of History at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She received her AB from Princeton University and her PhD from Johns Hopkins University. She has been awarded fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment of the Humanities, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and the New Jersey Historical Commission. The Anatomy Murders is the third book in her historical trilogy on Edinburgh medicine. "The Worlds of Burke and Hare," the companion website to The Anatomy Murders, is available at Burke and Hare. You can find out more about her book by clicking here. You can find out more about her work by clicking here.
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Image: "Tiger and Crows, Natural History Museum, London, England.” Diane Fox


Izak said...

I had just come across the verb "burking" recently. I had to look it up.

Anatomy said...

Anatomy is a branch of biology and Medicine which studies primarily the internal structure and design of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy (zootomy) and plantanatomy (phytotomy). Anatomy is divided into various sub specialties in some of its facets anatomy is closely related to Embryology, Histology, comparative anatomy and comparative embryology through common roots in evolutionread more...