Monday, February 17, 2014

Bodysnatching in Old New York; Selfies At Funerals; Barcelona Curious Congress and Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death: Upcoming Morbid Anatomy Events

This week at Morbid Anatomy we hope you'll join us for "Hierarchies of the Dead: Bodysnatching in Old New York" with Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses (This Tuesday, Feb 18)!

Other talks in the weeks to come include "Selfies At Funerals: Postmortem Photography and Cultural Taboos" with Halli Gomberg (Thursday, Feb 20); "Death in a Nutshell: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death" with Bruce Goldfarb of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland (Thursday, Feb 27); and two lectures from Ava Forte Vitali of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The ‘After’ Life: Death in Ancient Egypt" (NEW DATE: Thursday, March 27) and The Ancient Egyptian End of the World and the Mythology of Beer with free beer provided by Brooklyn Brewery (Thursday, March 13).

Away from our New York base, we also have a field trip on Saturday, March 29 to Baltimore with tour guide Robert Marbury (aka Angelic Boyfriend" in John Waters' Cry-Baby) featuring stops at The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a collection of obsessively detailed miniature dioramic death scenes, hand-crafted in the 1940s; Scarpetta House, a full-sized furnished room donated in which death scenes are staged to train forensic investigators; The Great Blacks in Wax Museum; and the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. And, for those in Spain or environs, we hope you'll join us for a special Carnival Week Congress for Curious People in Barcelona, Spain (February 26 - March 2) dedicated to the history of Carnival and to the city of Barcelona in its age of Enlightenment, with site visits, walking tours, costume parties, and talks on the history of medicine and science.

For the artsy and craftsy among you, we also have a number of excellent classes including Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class (Sunday, Feb 23); Bunny Taxidermy/ Jackalope Class (Sunday, March 2); Melanistic Pheasant Taxidermy Class (Saturday, March 8); Bat Skeleton in Glass Dome Workshop (Sunday, March 16); Squirrel Taxidermy Class (Sunday, March 23);  and Winged Rats or Guinea Pigs Taxidermy Class (Sunday, April 6th); Wearable Taxidermy Workshop (Sunday, April 13); Fancy Pigeon Taxidermy Class (Sunday, April 20); and The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry; Mother's Day Special (Saturday, May 10).

Hope to see you at one or more event! Full list and more information on all events can be found here. More on the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy can be found here.
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Hierarchies of the Dead: Bodysnatching in Old New York
Illustrated lecture by Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses

Date: Tuesday, February 18
Time: 8:00
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
Stealing corpses for anatomical dissection was a way of life for New York’s earliest medical schools. It was even the spark that led to the nation’s first riot, in 1788. But who were the earliest bodysnatchers, how did they operate, and whose graves were they plundering? In this illustrated lecture, Rest in Pieces author Bess Lovejoy will discuss this forgotten chapter of New York’s medical history, with some stops in points South. She’ll also cover some archeological research on the victims of the bodysnatchers, and how they have been remembered in the New York of today.

More info here.
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Selfies At Funerals: Postmortem Photography and Cultural Taboos: An Illustrated Lecture By Halli Gomberg
Date: Thursday, February 20
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)

Is the phenomenon of “Selfies At Funerals” a new manifestation of social media narcissism, or the last in a long line of older post mortem cultural practices? This talk will explore the complex attitudes towards death and photography over the course of American history, fom its precursors in painted deathbed portraiture, through Victorian postmortem and medical school dissection photographs and into newly emerging technologies. We will examine how society deals with our private and public mourning rituals, and why postmortem remembrance imagery can still be a cultural taboo.

More info here.

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Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Sunday, February 23
Time: 12:00pm - 5pm
Admission: $110
SOLD OUT; email morbidanatomylibrary [at] gmail.com to be put on wait list

Location: Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space), 424 A 3rd Avenue ( Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue ), 11215 Brooklyn, NY

Anthropomorphic taxidermy--a practice in which taxidermied animals are posed as if engaged in human activities--was an artform made famous by Victorian taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. In this class, as profiled by the New York Times, students will learn to create--from start to finish--anthropomorphic mice inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Mr. Potter. Your final project might take the form of a bespectacled, whiskey swilling, top hat tipping mouse; or perhaps a rodent mermaid queen of the burlesque world? With some props and some artful styling, your mouse can become whatever or whomever you want; this is the joy of anthropomorphic taxidermy.

More info here.
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Carnival Week Congress for Curious People in Barcelona, Spain
Dates: February 26 - March 2
Admission: Varies; see website for more info

This year, the Congress for Curious People will travel to Barcelona to help celebrate Carnival Week with a week-long cultural festival highlighting the unusual side of Barcelona. For a single, action-packed week, we will satisfy your curiosity through special activities, cultural itineraries, conferences and exclusive dinners and parties. The Congress is dedicated to the history of Carnival and to the city of Barcelona in its age of Enlightenment after 1714, and will take the form of special visits and walking tours, decadent parties, and talks on the history of medicine and science between the XV and XVIII centuries.

More here.

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Death in a Nutshell: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death: Illustrated lecture with Bruce Goldfarb, executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland
Date: Thursday, February 27
Time: 8:00
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)


The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death is an extraordinary collection of miniature dioramic death scenes, hand-crafted in the 1940s in obsessive detail by Frances Glessner Lee. They were -- and still are -- used to train police in the methods of forensic death investigation. Lee, a wealthy socialite with no formal education who in middle age was commissioned by the New Hampshire State Police, is considered the mother of modern, scientific death investigation; she is also said to be the inspiration for the character of Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote. Ttonight's illustrated lecture will tell the fascinating story of Frances Glessner Lee and her Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. Later, on Saturday, March 29th, join Morbid Anatomy for a special field trip to Baltimore featuring a tour of The Nutshells and the forensic facilities by Mr. Goldfarb. Visits to additional "Charm City" highlights will be organized with the help of our guide, rogue taxidermist and "angelic boyfriend" Robert Marbury."
More info here.
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Bunny Taxidermy/ Jackalope Class with Rogue Taxidermist Katie Innamorato
Date: Sunday, March 2
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Admission: $275
***Tickets must be pre-purchased here
Location: Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space), 424 A 3rd Avenue ( Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), 11215 Brooklyn , NY Subway: 4th Av - 9th Street (R - F - G) 
This class will introduce students to the process and techniques behind more advanced basic small mammal taxidermy. Students will learn how to skin, prep, preserve, mount, and position the animal. Attention will be focused on how to properly split, turn, and position rabbit ears. Basic armatures will be used and custom made forms (made by me) will be provided. Students will learn how to make a custom body for their specimens using an old traditional taxidermy technique of wrapping a body. Using the carcass for reference, students will learn how to build up and craft the bodies. Students encouraged to bring in any props they may want to dress the animal up in. I will provide all specimens, materials, and tools for the class. Each student will leave with his or her own finished mount.

More here.
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Melanistic Pheasant Taxidermy Class-Intermediate level class with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Saturday, March 8
Time: 1 pm - 5pm
Admission: $435
SOLD OUT; email morbidanatomylibrary [at] gmail.com to be put on wait list
Location: Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space), 424 A 3rd Avenue ( Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), 11215 Brooklyn , NY
Limited class size of 3 people

In this exclusive intermediate level workshop, we learn about the melanistic pheasant and classic bird taxidermy. These large, beautiful birds are a mutation of the common pheasant, first observed in the 1800s, and bred as a mutation in the 1920's/30's. Known for their unique coloration, exquisitely patterned feathers and iridescent green/black/purple plumage, these are very special birds!

More info here.
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The Ancient Egyptian End of the World and the Mythology of Beer, Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery
Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
brooklyn-brewery-logo-gold With free beer provided by Brooklyn Brewery
Date: Thursday, March 13
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $12
Part of the Death and The Occult in the Ancient World Series
Join us for a post-St. Patrick day’s celebration of one of the world’s oldest and most beloved drinks – Beer! Ava Forte Vitali, from our Death and The Occult in the Ancient World Series, will give us a quick glimpse into a few of the gods, goddesses, myths and ancient festivals associated with the drink, paying close attention to the Ancient Egyptian Legend of the End of the World, celebrated March 12. Then stay and mingle with other like-minded enthusiasts and enjoy a few bottles on us, provided by Brooklyn Brewery!

More here.
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Bat in Glass Dome Workshop With Wilder Duncan (formerly of Evolution Store, Soho) and Laetitia Barbier, head librarian at The Morbid Anatomy Library
Date: Sunday, March 16
Time: 1 – 6 PM
Admission: $200
*** Tickets must be pre-purchased here
Location: Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space), 424 A 3rd Avenue ( Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), 11215. Brooklyn, NY

In this class, students will learn how to create an osteological preparation of a bat in the fashion of 19th century zoological displays. A bat skeleton, a glass dome, branches, glue, tools, and all necessary materials will be provided for each student, but one should feel welcome to bring small feathers, stones, dried flowers, dead insects, natural elements, or any other materials s/he might wish to include in his/her composition. Students will leave the class with a visually striking, fully articulated, “lifelike” bat skeleton posed in a 10” tall glass dome. This piece can, in conjunction with the other creations in the DIY Wunderkammer workshop series, act as the beginning of a genuine collection of curiosities!

More here.
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Squirrel Taxidermy Class with Rogue Taxidermist Katie Innamorato
Date: Sunday, March 23
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Admission: $300
Must Pre-Purchase Tickets Here
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), 11215 Brooklyn , NY

This class will introduce students to basic small mammal taxidermy processes. Each student will be provided with his or her own squirrel, which they will skin, flesh, split, and prep for mounting. Students will learn how to make a custom body for their specimens using an old traditional taxidermy technique of wrapping a body. Using the carcass for reference, students will learn how to build up and craft the bodies. Students are encouraged to bring in any props they may want to dress the animal up in. I will provide all specimens, materials, and tools for the class. Each student will leave with his or her own finished mount.

More here.
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The ‘After’ Life: Death in Ancient Egypt: Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: NEW DATE Thursday, March 27
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Part of the Death and The Occult in the Ancient World Series
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)

When one considers Death and the Occult in the Ancient World, often the first culture that comes to mind is that of the Ancient Egyptians. Known for their elaborate tombs, complicated religious texts, and captivating mummies, the Ancient Egyptian fascination with death has captivated public interest for centuries. This inaugural lecture in our new monthly series will introduce the mortuary beliefs, traditions, and archaeology of the Ancient Egyptians and examine whether or not they were as morbidly focused as they have traditionally been portrayed to be.

More info here.
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Morbid Anatomy Baltimore Field-Trip Featuring The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
Date: Saturday, March 29
Cost: $100 (includes luxury ground transportation in Baltimore and all museum admissions.
Tickets can be found by clicking here
Location: Baltimore, MD
Please note: This price DOES NOT cover bus transportation between New York and Baltimore, or meals. please email morbidanatomylibrary [at] gmail.com with questions.

Today, join Morbid Anatomy for a day of wondrous frolics in “Charm City” with special tour guide--and rogue taxidermist!--Robert Marbury, whose Baltimore credentials include a star turn as Ricky Lake's "Angelic Boyfriend” in John Waters' Cry-Baby.

Stops include The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Baltimore, where assistant to the examiner Bruce Golfarb will lead us on a special tour of The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a collection of obsessively detailed miniature dioramic death scenes, hand-crafted in the 1940s and still used to train police in the methods of forensic death investigation; Scarpetta House, a full-sized furnished room donated by mystery novelist Patricia Cornwell in which death scenes are staged to train forensic investigators; the Great Blacks in Wax Museum; and the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, where we will engage in a traditional Cognac toast. Throughout the day, our delightful guide will also share with us his favorite Baltimore sights, and regale us with stories of the secret, fascinating, bizarre and sometimes tragic history of the city known affectionately as "Mobtown.
Full info here.
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Winged Rats or Guinea Pigs Taxidermy Class with Rogue Taxidermist Katie Innamorato
Date: Sunday, April 6
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Admission: $225
Must Pre-Purchase Tickets Here
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), 11215 Brooklyn , NY
This class will introduce students to basic small mammal taxidermy processes. Each student will be provided with his or her own squirrel, which they will skin, flesh, split, and prep for mounting. Students will learn how to make a custom body for their specimens using an old traditional taxidermy technique of wrapping a body. Using the carcass for reference, students will learn how to build up and craft the bodies. Students are encouraged to bring in any props they may want to dress the animal up in. I will provide all specimens, materials, and tools for the class. Each student will leave with his or her own finished mount.

More here.

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Wearable Taxidermy Workshop with Morbid Anatomy Museum Taxidermist in residence Divya AnantharamanDate: Sunday, April 13
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Admission: $120
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), 11215 Brooklyn, NY
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
**Tickets can be purchased by clicking here
Perfect for beginners, experts, or anyone in between, this class will provide students with materials and instruction to create a totally unique piece of wearable taxidermy! The class will begin with a short illustrated lecture on wearable taxidermy, from prehistoric speculation, to shrunken heads, Victorian hummingbird jewelry, and the modern day use of ethically obtained animal products in art and fashion. Students will then design their piece and bring it to life using the guidance, tips, tricks, and techniques advised by Divya.

More here.
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Fancy Pigeon Taxidermy Class with Morbid Anatomy Taxidermist in Residence Divya AnanthamaranDate: Sunday, Date: April 20
Admission: $265
Time: 12-6pm
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), 11215 Brooklyn, NY
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
**Tickets can be purchased by clicking here

In this exclusive intermediate level workshop, we will learn about the wonderful diversity of pigeons and classic bird taxidermy. These are NOT New York City pigeons, but fancy heritage breeds, including Fantails and Homers. These fascinating birds were used by Charles Darwin as one of the examples in his first chapter of "On the Origins of Species," and a variety of colors will be available for students to select in class. The birds used in this class are naturally deceased show birds from one of America's leading pigeon enthusiasts-making for a very unique opportunity!

More here.
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The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry : Workshop with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann; Mother's Day Special
Date: Saturday, May 10
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Admission: $75
***Tickets must be pre-purchased here
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue ( Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue ), 11215 Brooklyn , NY
Hair jewelry was an enormously popular form of commemorative art that began in the late 17th century and reached its zenith during the Victorian Era. Hair, either of someone living or deceased, was encased in metal lockers or woven to enshrine the human relic of a loved one. This class will explore a modern take on the genre.

More here.
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Full list and more information on all events can be found here. More on the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy can be found here.

Image: A drawing of two graverobbers stealing the corpse of a woman, with Death (in the form of a skeleton) watching over and holding their lantern, by Thomas Rowlandson, unsigned, probably 1775. Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons, London.


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