If you've not yet been out to see our Art of Mourning exhibition--or if you're looking for an excuse to return!--you won't want to miss our free, Hendrick's Gin-sponsored End of Exhibition Open House taking place this Sunday, November 23. The museum will be free for the entire day, and we'll be hosting a full day of short talks, exclusive screenings, special tours, music, demonstrations, cocktails and more.
Full schedule follows; we hope very much to see you there!
SCHEDULE11:15 am: Mark Dion (Artist, Morbid Anatomy Advisory Board) - Opening Speech11:30 am: Vicki Fama Daniel (University of Wisconsin‑Madison): Illustrated lecture "Death on Display: The Triangle Fire Morgue and Public Spectacle in Early Twentieth-Century New York"In the immediate aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, city authorities established a temporary morgue at the end of East 26th Street to hold dozens of unidentified victims. The morgue was opened to the public and quickly became a spectacle of grief and death. This lecture will discuss what drove spectators to the morgue and the myriad ways that those working in the morgue attempted to mitigate the spectacle there.12:00 pm: The Art Of Mourning - Exhibition tour by Evan Michelson (Scholar in Residence, Star of TV's Oddities)12:15 pm: Michael Carlisle (Baruch College): Illustrated lecture "The Morbidity of Mathematicians"Some mathematicians have a tendency to obsess on obscure abstraction, toil in isolation, and die young and/or in very unpleasant ways. This illustrated talk will present a brief history of some of these world-changers and brain-breakers, how they changed human thought, and how, for their troubles, the world drove them to the eternal asymptote.12:45 pm: RoadKill Anatomy: A Demonstration presented by naturalist Peter WarnyIn this zoological show-and-tell, Peter Warny will conducts necropsy examination of preserved specimen, discussing their anatomy and physiology.1:00 pm: Laetitia Barbier (Morbid Anatomy Museum Programming Director, Head Librarian) - Milagritos : Mexican devotional artifacts from the Morbid Anatomy Library CollectionIn this show and tell, Head Librarian Laetitia Barbier will discuss vernacular religious practices and private veneration in Mexico through its peculiar material culture. From Santa Muerte to The Holy Blind Child, she will present a variety of religious objects, icons and idols, as well as new acquisitions and many anecdotes from our recent journey in Mexico.1:45 pm: Shannon Taggart (Programmer in Residence): Illustrated lecture "A Brief History of Ectoplasm"Why Ectoplasm? – Harry Houdini famously wondered this in his scathing critique of Modern Spiritualism. Since it’s first appearances in Victorian era séance rooms, this mysterious substance has continued to seduce, disgust and intrigue believers and skeptics alike. This presentation will cover a brief history of the paradoxical substance as well as the contemporary mediums who are still in its pursuit.2:.15 pm: by Karen Bachmann (Master jeweler, Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence) : A Demonstration of Victorian Hair ArtIn this demonstration, jeweler and scholar Karen Bachmann will present the techniques used to create victorian inspired wreath and jewelry with human hair.2:45 pm: Mike Zohn (Collector, Star of TV's Oddities) - "Anthropomorphic Taxidermy Dioramas of the Cress Funeral Home"Cress Funeral Home, Madison, Wisconsin was famously reported on by Roadside America for its collection of taxidermy tableaus. Before the collection was divided at auction, this funeral home attracted tourists eager to view the whimsical anthropomorphic taxidermy work commissioned by proprietor Sam Sanfillippo. Pieces included a squirrel bar, a squirrel merry go round and a squirrel girly show. Antique dealer Mike Zohn’s show and tell will present few of the pieces he purchased at the Funeral Home.3.00 pm: The Art of Mourning - Exhibition tour by Karen Bachmann (Master jeweler, Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence)3:15 pm: Daniel Margocsy (Hunter College): Illustrated lecture "Fake Dragons and the Tattooed Fish of Halle: Rogue Taxidermy Avant la Lettre"Fake dragons, stuffed basilisks and other imaginary monsters were not only the stuff of fiction in the early modern period. Material remains of them were frequently forged and exhibited in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century museums. This talk discusses a number of renowned specimens from this period, and explores why natural historians took such objects of rogue taxidermy seriously.3:45 pm: Amy Herzog (Queen's College; Programmer in Residence): Illustrated lecture TBA4:15 pm: Jon Ronson (Journalist, documentary filmmaker, author The Men Who Stare at Goats): Screening of "David Icke, The Lizards and the Jews"David Icke was once a famous British TV sports commentator until he announced one day on the BBC that he was the Son of God. Then he vanished – a laughingstock. When he reemerged in the late 1990s with his theory that the shadowy cabal that secretly rules the world are actually shapeshifting pedophile lizards, Jon Ronson joined him on his lecture tour of Canada. It was an especially fraught lecture tour because powerful anti racists were convinced that when he said ‘lizards’ he was using code for ‘Jews. Flitting between the two camps as the confrontations escalated, Ronson asked: which side should we be on?5:00 pm: Evan Michelson (Scholar in Residence, star of TV's Oddities): Illustrated lecture "A brief history of Narcotics"A show-and-tell illustrating mankind's noble (but often misguided) attempt to master the art of pharmaceutical-grade opiates; the results were mixed, and centuries of social upheaval were just one side effect. Science, chemistry, sleazy marketing, good intentions and bad medicine tell the surprising (and ongoing) story of our quest to achieve better living through chemistry.
5:20 pm: Kevin Murphy (Curator at Williams College Museum of Art) Materiality and Melancholy: Mourning as Art and Artifact - The Art of Mourning Exhibition TourHair memorials, post-mortem photography, and objects of mourning occupy a paradoxical place within academic, museum, and popular culture. Scholars and collectors interested in these objects often discuss them as "oddities" while at the same time deploying them to for the didactic and moralizing purpose of criticizing 21st century attitudes to death as opposed to those of the past, potentially risking an unintended cultural conservatism. On this tour, curator Kevin Murphy will visually analyze selected objects, demonstrating how they intersect with the artistic practice and habits of mind of the cultures that created them and suggesting possible interpretive strategies to reconcile uncanny and conventional; subculture with culture.5.35 pm: Divya Anantharaman and Katie Innamorato (Morbid Anatomy Museum Taxidermists in Residence) - Life Taxidermy Demonstration6.00 pm: Ronni Thomas (Filmmaker in Residence) - Morbid Anatomy Presents Screening of Assorted Short Films6.30 pm: Mark Dery (Cultural Critic, author I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts) and Joanna Ebenstein (Morbid Anatomy Museum creative director and blog founder): A Public DissectionA disquieting yet diverting conversation with Joanna Ebenstein, founder of the Morbid Anatomy Museum. Your host: Mark Dery, cultural critic, author of the essay collection I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts.7:15 pm: Mark Dion (Artist, Morbid Anatomy Advisory Board): Closing remarks and toast7:30 pm Reception/afterparty sponsored by Hendrick's Gin featuring the arcane tunes of DJ in residence Friese Undine