Friday, May 6, 2011

Lecture: Mark Dion, "My Taxidermy Taxonomy," Museum of Natural History, London, Darwin Center, Thursday May 12

My good friend Petra Lange-Berndt at University College London would like to invite all of you London-based folks out there to a free and fascinating sounding lecture--as part of an equally fascinating sounding series--by one of my favorite contemporary artists, Mark Dion.

Full details on both the lecture and the series follow; hope you can make it!
"My Taxidermy Taxonomy"
Mark Dion (Visual Artist, USA)
Venue: Museum of Natural History, London, Darwin Center, Attenborough Studio
Time: Thursday, 12 May 2011, 5pm
The lecture is free and open to all - but please phone to book tickets on
+44 (0)20 7942 5725

Mark Dion is one of the world's foremost ecological artists. He is best known for investigating and intervening into the cultures of natural history collections through site-sensitive installations. In this slide lecture Dion will examine the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. The artist will address more specifically the politics of taxidermy, the preservation of animal skins, and its many practices. What kind of stories, curiosities and oddities can be unearthed from the archives of the natural history museum? How is taxidermy linked to extinction and colonialism? And what is the role of the museum in contemporary society?

This lecture is part of the AHRC Research Network "The Culture of Preservation" series, at the UCL History of Art Department, run by Petra Lange-Berndt and Mechthild Fend in collaboration with the Natural History Museum London, The Hunterian Museum, and the Grant Museum of Zoology, London.

More about this series:
Prepared specimens appear in many guises: as monstrous or typical organs preserved in formaldehyde and kept in glass jars not unlike pickled food, as stained and fixed tissue slices, or as skilfully arranged stuffed animals. They may be found in cabinets of curiosities, in the laboratories of histologists, in anatomy theatres or in natural history collections, but nowadays equally in art galleries and the shop windows of fashionable boutiques. This project is concerned with such kinds of preserved natural objects, in particular with anatomical wet preparations and taxidermy. It explorses the hybrid status of these objects between nature and representation, art and science and studies their fabricaton, history and display.


Workshop 1: Taxidermy: Animal Skin and Colonial Practice
12 May 2011, 5pm
Keynote Lecture – free and open to all but please telephone to book tickets on +44 (0)20 7942 5725 –

Mark Dion (Artist, New York and Pennsylvania),
My Taxidermy Taxonomy, Museum of Natural History, London, Attenborough Studio

13 May 2011 Workshop

Workshop 2: Wet Preparations: Anatomy, Pathology and the Body Contained

9 June 2011, 6 pm Keynote Lecture – free and open to all –

Nick Hopwood (Historian of Science, University of Cambridge), Human embryos: bottled, sliced and frozen, Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons

10 June 2011 Workshop

For further information please contact Mechthild Fend m.fend(@) or Petra Lange-Berndt p.lange-berndt(@)

The network is a collaboration between the UCL History of Art department, UCL collections, in particular the Grant Museum of Zoology, the Hunterian Museum, London and the Natural History Museum London.
The lecture is free and open to the public, but you will need to make reservations; you can do so by calling +44 (0)20 7942 5725. You can find out more about the event and the series by clicking here.

Image: Mark Dion: An Account of Six Disastrous Years in the Library for Animals (detail), Installation at the Centrum Sztuki Wspólczesnej, Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw 1992


Erika said...

Oh dear god I wish I was in London so I could attend this!
Also I want that aardvark :x

lisa temple-cox said...

Was delighted to hear about this from Petra herself! And am totally going!! I love Dion's work... ironically I will miss the second lecture as I'll be in the Mutter in June... but I am sure that experience will make up for it ;)