Monday, February 3, 2014

Hair Art! Frederik Ruysch Inspired Wet Specimen Workshop! Valentine's Week Spectacles! Body Snatching! This Week and Beyond at Morbid Anatomy.

This week at Morbid Anatomy, we are proud to present two excellent classes: Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry workshop (Saturday, Feb 8) and Frederik and Rachel Ruysch Inspired Wet Specimen Workshop with Moles (Sunday, Feb 9).
 
The following week is our Valentine's Day inspired programming, featuring our first ever singles night (!!!): "Morbid Curiosity" with host Daisy Tainton and DJ Blake Schwarzenbach (former frontman of Jawbreaker! Monday, Feb 10); "Women Who Bite: Chastity Belts, Castration Anxiety and Feminism" with Art Historian Karen Bachmann (Tuesday, Feb 11); and, on the big day itself,  "Privately Published: A Descent Into Early 20th Century Mail Order Erotica" with Cranioklepty author Colin Dickey, and special cocktails by Friese Undine (Friday, Feb 14). The very next evening, we hope you'll join us for an "Erotic Guide to Paris at Night, Circa 1936" with Mel Gordon. This highly illustrated talk by the author of Voluptious Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin will also feature a special screening of rare 1930s films showcasing the illicit world of "luxury brothels, gay and lesbian cabarets, nudist supper clubs, lavish music hall productions, and love cult initiations" (Saturday, Feb 15)!

Other forthcoming talks include "The ‘After’ Life: Death in Ancient Egypt" with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Ava Forte Vitali on (Thursday, Feb 13); "Hierarchies of the Dead: Bodysnatching in Old New York" with Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses (Tuesday, Feb 18); "Selfies At Funerals: Postmortem Photography and Cultural Taboos" with Halli Gomberg (Thursday, Feb 20) and "Death in a Nutshell: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death" with special guest Bruce Goldfarb, executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland (Thursday, Feb 27).
If field trips are more your thing, we hope you'll join us on Saturday, March 29 for a special trip to Baltimore with our tour guide rogue taxidermist  Robert Marbury, whose Baltimore credentials include a star turn as "Angelic Boyfriend" in John Waters' Cry-Baby. Stops will include The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Baltimore, where assistant to the examiner Bruce Golfarb will lead us on a special tour The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a collection of obsessively detailed miniature dioramic death scenes, hand-crafted in the 1940s (bottom image) and Scarpetta House, a full-sized furnished room donated in which death scenes are staged to train forensic investigators. We will also visit the Great Blacks in Wax Museum and the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, where we will engage in a traditional Cognac toast.

For the natural history inclined, we also have classes including Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class (Sunday, Feb 23); Bunny Taxidermy/ Jackalope Class (Sunday, March 2); Melanistic Pheasant Taxidermy Class (Saturday, March 8); and Bat Skeleton in Glass Dome Workshop (Sunday, March 26).

Full details follow on all events and workshops follow; hope very much to see you at one or more! You can also always find a full list of events on our Facebook page by clicking here.
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The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry : Workshop with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Saturday, February 8
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Admission: $75
SOLD OUT; email morbidanatomylibrary [at] gmail.com to be put on wait list
***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
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 info here.
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Frederik and Rachel Ruysch Inspired Wet Specimen Workshop with Moles with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Sunday, February 9
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Admission: $130 Valentine's Day Special : buy two ticket for you and your date for $250 ! ( Send an email to morbidanatomylibrary@gmail.com, Get your $10 refund the day of the workshop )
Location: Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space), 424 A 3rd Avenue ( Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue ), 11215 Brooklyn, NY

This workshop takes as its departure the work of Frederik Ruysch (1638 - 1731), a pioneer in many of areas of research and development in anatomy, natural sciences, and of course, the preparation of wet specimen. He was also responsible for assembling one of Europe's most famous cabinets. This class will also focus on the oft overlooked collaborative efforts between F. Ruysch and his daughter Rachel. An accomplished still life painter, she  helped her father adorn his specimen with dried flowers, rare seashells, interesting stones, dried fish, and handmade lace, usually of significance to the specimen being preserved. The resulting pieces were beautiful tableaux of nature, art, and science.

More info here.
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Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night
Hosted by Daisy Tainton 
with DJ Blake Schwarzenbach, former frontman of Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil
Date: Monday, February 10
Time: 8:00
Admission: $15 (includes one free adult beverage)
Tickets can be purchased here.
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
Single? Different? Want to meet some like-minded New Yorkers? Do your perspective paramours often tell you you're weird, or ask you why you are so interested in those creepy things? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, we hope you'll join us this Valentine's Day week for Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night!

More info here.
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Women Who Bite: Chastity Belts, Castration Anxiety and Feminism: Illustrated lecture with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann

Date: Tuesday, February 11
Time: 8:00
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)

Humankind's earliest cultures were matriarchal in nature. The advent of agrarian civilization witnessed women’s power gradually devalued by a growing patriarchy. Both Western and Eastern cultures have folklore and art history attesting to the leitmotif of the strong, fierce, and aggressively sexual woman rising against oppressive male authority. Tonight’s lecture--just in time for Valentine's Day!--will explore the myths, fables, and visual representations of the ferocious, toothed woman. Such imagery includes: chastity belts (and their development), male castration anxiety, vengeful goddesses, the femme fatale, Amazon warriors, and "vagina dentata." These subjects will be explored in all their frightening, savage, erotic and often humorous incarnations.


More info here.
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The ‘After’ Life: Death in Ancient Egypt: Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: Thursday, February 13
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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Privately Published: A Descent Into Early 20th Century Mail Order Erotica: A Special Valentine's Day Event: An illustrated lecture by Colin Dickey, author of Cranioklepty and Afterlives of the Saints with drinks and music by Friese Undine
Date: Friday, February 14
Time: 8:00
Admission: $12
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)

Tonight, join writer Colin Dickey for a peek into the world of early 20th century mail-order erotica. In order to evade post office censors, smut peddlers like Panurge Press and Falstaff Press were obligated to dress up their offerings with a veneer of scientific dross, resulting in works that were too smutty to be of any real scientific or sociological value, and yet too riddled with academic nonsense to be properly erotic. A curiously forgotten and nearly nonsensical sub-genre, these books exist in between the finely-drawn lines of obscenity and free speech, pornography and literature, and titillation and scientific inquiry. Colin will share the history of these odd publishers and choice examples from his library, including works like White Meat, Praeputii Incisio, Black Opium, The Sword and Womankind, and An Anthropological Cabinet of Curiosities. Come for the lecture, and stay for delicious artisinal cocktails and thematic tunes courtesy of Friese Undine.

More info here.
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An Erotic Guide to Paris at Night, Circa 1936
Illustrated Lecture and Vintage Films with Mel Gordon, author of Voluptious Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin
Date: Saturday, February 15
Time: 8:00
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)

Tonight, the night after Valentine's Day, please join Voluptious Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin author Mel Gordon for a highly illustrated lecture in which he traces the standard and atypical paths that international sex tourists followed during the heyday of Paris' most unfettered years. He will also screen rare filmic exposes of luxury brothels, gay and lesbian cabarets, nudist supper clubs, lavish music hall productions, and love cult initiations. The vast majority of the visual materials shown tonight have never been presented since the 1930s and were purchased from private collectors.

More info 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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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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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 26
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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Morbid Anatomy Baltimore Field-Trip Featuring The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death
Date: Saturday, March 29th
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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Full list and more information on all events can be found here. More on the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy can be found here.

Image top to bottom:
  1. Image: “Aberrations, Perversions, Transvestitism, Fetishism, Flagellation; Secret Sex Clubs in Paris, Berlin, etc.”; Page from “A Private Anthropological Cabinet of 500 Authentic Racial-Esoteric Photographs and Illustrations…” Privately issued by Falstaff Press, Inc. From the Morbid Anatomy Library collections.
  2. Memento mori gold ring with enamels, rock crystal, and hair from 17th-century England. Sourced here
  3. Frederik Ruysch, Thesaurus animalium primus = Het eerste cabinet der dieren, 1710, Sourced here

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