Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Observatory's Anthropomorphic Taxidermy Class with Sue Jeiven in the International News!

The one-day workshop, which teaches students how to stuff dead mice and pose them up as if they were humans, is becoming a popular pastime in New York.

White-haired mice styled in tutus and polka dot hair bows; their spindly paws strumming miniature guitars - even reading the New York Times - were photographed in Ms Jeiven's class

An educator and tattoo artist, [Sue Jeiven] begins the four-hour lesson handing out the lifeless little creatures, having sucked out their blood with a syringe beforehand. A statement on the class website warns only feeder mice are used for the arts and crafts session.

But strange or morbid as it might seem to some, anthropomorphic taxidermy – the practice of mounting and displaying taxidermied animals as if they were humans or engaged in human activities – has a long and storied history, beginning with the most privileged classes.

It was a popular art form during the Victorian and Edwardian eras; the best known practitioner of the art form being British taxidermist Walter Potter, whose works included The Kitten Wedding and The Kitten Tea Party, which the mind immediately wants to imagine.

--"Is this the most bizarre art project ever? Taxidermy class teaches students how to stuff dead mice and pose them up 'as if they were humans'" Jennifer Madison, The Daily Mail

For anyone looking for that extra-authentic flavour to their fireplace display, Susan Jeiven's anthropomorphic taxidermy class might just the class you're looking for.

At the Morbid Academy, as Jeiven calls it, about 20 students learn to transform the bodies of dead white mice into human-like pantomimes.
In one example, a white mouse holds a miniature classical guitar. In another, a mouse wearing a pink bow on its head reads a tiny facsimile of the New York Times.

--"Would you buy or make dead mouse art?" Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News

There are mice and men and, thanks to a macabre hobby, there are also mice that look like men.

Bent over tables in a room in an industrial corner of Brooklyn, about 20 New Yorkers use scalpels to slice into dead white mice, the first step in the animals’ unlikely journey toward an afterlife spent in human poses and dolls’ clothing.

Anthropomorphic taxidermy is an art form that became hugely popular in Britain in the 19th century, with Queen Victoria herself a fan. Now, as with many odd activities, it has found new life in Brooklyn.

“It’s a little immortality,” instructor Susan Jeiven, 40, explains at the start of her latest sold-out class.

--"Morbid Anatomy 101: Macabre hobby gives dead animals new life" Sebastian Smith, Ottawa Citizen
Congratulations to Sue Jeiven--our amazing anthropomorphic taxidermy teacher--for the recent flurry of international press surrounding her oft-sold out class excerpted above. You can read the whole Daily Mail article--from which all of the images and first excerpt above are drawn--by clicking here, the CBC News article by clicking here, and the Ottawa Citizen article by clicking here.

I am also very pleased to announce that we just added five new classes to our roster, and four of those still have vacancies. If you are interested in learning more--or better yet, signing up for one of Sue's incredible classes--click here. To find out more about the "Morbid Academy" Sue refers to (we call it The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy), click here. To watch a short video about Sue and her work, click here.

All images from the Daily Mail Article; ©AFP/Getty Images.

1 comment:

Andy Newman said...

hi. we were told in the class on feb 14 that pix of everybody's rats ("mice", ha!), or at least most of em, would be posted somewhere. do you know if that happened?