Thursday, July 5, 2012

Virtual Tour of Medical Museums of the Western World! Organization for Creatives with Oliver Burkeman of "The Guardian!" This Week and Beyond at Observatory

Learn to organize with Oliver Burkeman of London's Guardian! Join Morbid Anatomy for a special Friday the 13th virtual tour of medical museums of the Western World followed by music and cocktails! Morbid Anatomy Presents this week and beyond at Observatory:

Organization and Productivity for Creative Types with Oliver Burkeman of The Guardian
Date: Thursday,  July 12
Time: 8:00
Admission: $10
Produced by Morbid Anatomy

Do you hunger to climb the corporate ladder with ruthless efficiency, leaving your rivals in the dust as you pursue your relentless quest for wealth and power? Hopefully not, but that doesn’t mean you can’t borrow some tactics from such people and apply them to your own ends; to that end, this talk– by Oliver Burkeman, compulsive to-do-list-maker and journalist for London’s Guardian–will teach creatives, freelancers, and artists how to plan and manage multiple projects, better plan their time, and, in general, feel less overwhelmed by juggling a variety of projects at one time.

Burkeman has spent much of the last few years researching and reporting on self-help culture, including the fascinating history of the “how to succeed” publishing genre, and motivational gurus from Dale Carnegie to Stephen Covey, and sifting the wheat from the chaff. (There’s a lot of chaff.) Drawing on this research, this talk will explore some fundamental principles of getting organized, managing multiple projects, overcoming procrastination, time management, and being both more productive and less stressed in the kinds of sprawling artistic/creative/freelance lives that don’t get much attention in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. No cringe-inducing motivational speeches will be given; no Magic Systems for Instant Success will be promoted. Instead, we’ll plunder from the world of the grinning gurus the bits that actually work – so that you’ll leave equipped with a toolkit of immediately usable ways to do the stuff you’re already doing, and the projects you’re planning, with greater efficiency and ease. 

Please note: This event is a lecture adaptation of a recent popular Observatory class by the same name.

Oliver Burkeman in a writer based in Brooklyn with an unhealthy interest in filing systems. He writes features and a weekly column on psychology for the (London) Guardian. His book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking will be published by Faber & Faber in the fall.

Image: Image sourced from
Anatomical Venuses, The Slashed Beauty, and Fetuses Dancing a Jig
A heavily illustrated lecture by Morbid Anatomy founder Joanna Ebenstein, followed by afterparty featuring thematic music and specialty cocktails by Friese Undine
Date: Friday, July 13
Time: 8:00
Admission: $10
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Since 2005, artist, independent scholar and Morbid Anatomist Joanna Ebenstein has travelled the world seeking out--and photographing whenever possible--the most fascinating, curious, and overlooked medical collections and wunderkammern, backstage and front, private and public. In the process, she has amassed not only an astounding collection of images but also a great deal of knowledge about the history and cultural context of these fascinating and uncanny artifacts.

This Friday the Thirteenth, please join us for a heavily illustrated lecture based on this research, followed by a thematic afterparty. In her lecture "Anatomical Venuses, The Slashed Beauty, and Fetuses Dancing a Jig," Ebenstein will lead you on a highly-illustrated tour of medical museums and introduce you to many of their most curious and enigmatic denizens, including the Anatomical Venus, the Slashed Beauty, the allegorical fetal skeleton tableau (as seen above), the flayed horseman of the apocalypse, and three fetuses dancing a jig. Ebenstein will contextualize these artifacts via a discussion of the history of medical museums and modeling, a survey of great artists of the genre, and an examination of other death-related arts and amusements which made up the cultural landscape at the time that these objects were originally created, collected, and exhibited. Following, please stick around for an afterparty featuring thematic tunes and inventive artisanal cocktails complements of the omni-talented Friese Undine.

Joanna Ebenstein is a multi-disciplinary artist with an academic background in intellectual history. She runs the Morbid Anatomy blog and related open-to-the-public Brooklyn-based Morbid Anatomy Library. She is also the founding member of Observatory, a Brooklyn based arts and events space devoted to the revival of the 18th century notions of the dilettante and rational amusements. Her recent work—which includes photography, curation, installation, blogging, museum consulting, lecturing and writing—centers on anatomical museums and their artifacts, collectors and collecting, curiosities and marvels, 18th and 19th Century natural history and, as the subtitle of her blog states, “surveying the interstices of art and medicine, death and culture.” She has lectured at a variety of popular and academic venues, and her work has been shown and published internationally; she is the current Coney Island Musuem artist in resident, and recent solo exhibitions include The Secret Museum and Anatomical Theatre. You can find out more at her at her website and her blog Morbid Anatomy; you can view much of her photography work by clicking here. She can be reached at morbidanatomy [at]

Image: Fetal Skeleton Tableau, 17th Century, University Backroom, Paris; From The Secret Museum. © Joanna Ebenstein, 2010

Onward and upward:

July 21: Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop: With former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton
***Must RSVP to morbidanatomy [at] 

July 23: Class: Dissection as Studio Practice with Real Anatomical Specimens: Lecture and Studio Art and Dissection Class with artist Laura Splan **Must RSVP to morbidanatomy[at] 

August 11: Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop: With former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton
***Must RSVP to morbidanatomy [at]

August 17: Taxidermy, Longing, and Beastly Allure: An Illustrated Lecture with Rachel Poliquin, author of "The Breathless Zoo" and "Ravishing Beasts"

More on all events can be found here; hope to see you there!

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