Monday, March 31, 2014

Official Provisional Charter to Operate Morbid Anatomy Museum Devoted to "Liminal, Interdisciplinary, or Marginal" Artifacts!

The Morbid Anatomy Museum just received its official provisional charter to, in the words of the charter itself:
a) To operate a museum to promote, support, and present exhibitions of artifacts and artworks rarely featured in traditional museums due to their liminal, interdisciplinary, or marginal nature;in the words of the charter; b. To foster community awareness and appreciation of art, artifacts and ideas that do not conform to mainstream culture; c. To provide and maintain an archive relating to the topics presented, ideas explored, and craft represented by the featured exibitions; d. To promote and showcase the work of lesser-known local and international artists, makers and craftspeople whose work does not conform to mainstream art culture; e. To organize and host speaking engagements related to the topics explored by the exhibitions and the archive. 
Please consider donating to our Kickstarter campaign today to help make this the best museum it can be--for all of us!--at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1038582734/the-morbid-anatomy-museum.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Madrid Anatomical Theatre, "Anatomía Completa del Hombre," 1728

The Madrid anatomy theatre, engraving by Matías de Irala, from Martín Martínez's Anatomía completa del hombre, Madrid, 1728. Courtesy of the Biblioteca y Museo historicomédicos del Instituto López Piñero de Historia de la Ciencia y Documentación (CSIC/Universitat de València).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Death in Ancient Egypt! Baltimore Nutshell Death Case Field Trip! The Sublime and the Body! This Week and Beyond at at Morbid Anatomy!

We have scores of great events coming up in the months to come at Morbid Anatomy! 

Tonight, we very much hope you join us for The ‘After’ Life: Death in Ancient Egypt with Ava Forte Vitali (Thursday, March 27); to find out more about that lecture--and her ongoing "Death and the Occult in the Ancient World" series of which it is but one part--check out this wonderful piece from today's Fangoria. Following, this Saturday is our much anticipated (and until recently, much sold out!) Morbid Anatomy Baltimore Field-Trip Featuring The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (Saturday, March 29) If you are interested in joining us, three slots just opened! Click here to secure one for yourself. 

Onward and upward, we have night one of our 4-part reading/discussion group The Sublime: After the Fall: History, Anatomy and The Sublime with Dr Richard Barnett's (Mondays March 31); a lecture and artifact show and tell with Mike Zohn of TV's Oddities on The Surprising Story of the Ku Klux Klan in America (Friday, April 4); The "Morbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release Party at the new Morbid Anatomy Museum (Saturday, April 26); Wondrous Tones: In Search of "Nature Music" with Emily I. Dolan, University of Pennsylvania (Thursday, May 8); and a reprise of our (to our great surprise) very successful singles night: Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night with Daisy Tainton (Tuesday May 20). You can read more about last months iteration on Nerve.com by clicking here.

Next week also marks the launch of Dr Richard Barnett's month long residency at Morbid Anatomy, with offerings include the aforementioned reading/discussion group (The Sublime: After the Fall: History, Anatomy and The Sublime; Mondays March 31 - April 21); two Hendrick's sponsored lectures devoted to the history of gin as explored in his Book of Gin (Quintessence Of A Mystery: The Birth Of Gin; Thursday, April 10 and Dutch Courage And Mothers’ Ruin: The Gin Craze; Friday, April 11); a lecture and party for his new book on pathological atlases The Sick Rose (The Sick Rose: Anatomy and Art in an Age of Revolution; Thursday, April 17); as well as talks on Nikola Tesla (The Electric Fictions of Nikola Tesla; Sunday, April 13) and 19th century ideas of animal and human minds (The Beast in the Mirror; Tuesday, April 22).

For those who prefer to learn arcane skills, we have a number of excellent workshop offerings including  Squirrel Taxidermy Class (Sunday, March 23); Wearable Taxidermy Workshop (Sunday, April 13); Fancy Pigeon Taxidermy Class (Sunday, April 20); The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry; Mother's Day Special (Saturday, May 10); Special Walter Potter Edition - Anthropomorphic Bunny Taxidermy Class  (Sunday May 18th);  Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman (Sunday, June 1st); and the afore mentioned Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton (Saturday, June 14).

Full list and more information on all events can be found here. Hope to see you at one or more of these terrific events!
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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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After the Fall: History, Anatomy and The Sublime: A Reading and Discussion Group with Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Dates: Mondays March 31, April 7, April 14 and April 21
Time: 7-9 PM
Admission: $60
Tickets must be pre-purchased by clicking here (Limited to 15 people)
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
The sublime has taken many forms in Western history: Kant gazing awestruck at the starry sky above; Friedrich’s solitary wanderers in the mountains of the mind; Darwin insisting in the Origin of Species that ‘there is grandeur in this view of life’; Oppenheimer witnessing the first nuclear test and murmuring ‘I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’. But – as these examples suggest – the sublime is is always a kind of confrontation with our edges, something that happens when flawed and mortal human beings are brought up short against the limitless, the infinite, that which seems to exceed all boundaries. Over four weekly evening sessions we’ll read some of the first writers to provide aesthetic and philosophical theories of the sublime. We’ll encounter it in Romantic science and Enlightenment anatomy. We’ll trace its troubled journey through the killing fields of the twentieth century. And we’ll pick up its traces in the forests of the internet, part of a world where human form and identity is coming to seem infinitely malleable (if not infinitely extendable).
More here.

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The Surprising Story of the Ku Klux Klan in America: Lecture and Artifact Show and Tell with Mike Zohn of TV's Oddities
Date: Friday, April 4
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
A few years ago, Mike Zohn of TV's Oddities found, at his local flea market, a bizarre panoramic photograph (dated 1925) showing a huge group of delegates from the Delaware chapter of the Ku Klux Klan posing--in full costume--in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Not long after, he came across a motion lamp from the same time period depicting the flaming cross emblem of the K.K.K.. These two artifacts led Mike to ask a number of questions: what was the story with this particular group of Klans Men, and what were they doing posing in front of the Capital building? And how could it be that the infamous icon of murderous intolerance--the flaming cross--could have become the subject of a prosaic, commercially sold motion lamp almost as if it The Klan were just another club such as the rotary club or the masons?

More here.
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Quintessence Of A Mystery: The Birth Of Gin: Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust, with cocktails by Ronni ThomasSponsored by Hendrick's Gin
Date: Thursday, April 10
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
** Copies of Barnett's book The Book of Gin will be available for sale and signing
Globalization, the consumer society, the Glorious Revolution – each was conceived in gin. In this talk, author of The Book of Gin and Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will reveal the ways in which this fiery, mysterious spirit captured the imaginations of all kinds of early modern Europeans. We’ll meet gentlemen pursuing natural philosophy in their private closets, physicians seeking new medicines and restoratives, alchemists searching for the elixir of life, and (of course) distillers looking to make money from the basic, visceral human drive for intoxication. Why were two heady, symbolically–charged substances – juniper and spirit – brought together in the same glass? What adventures did they have before and after this union? And just how did gin come to be consumed in such vast quantities – for health, for pleasure and for the promise of immortality?

More here.

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Dutch Courage And Mothers’ Ruin: The Gin Craze Lecture with Cocktails by Friese Undine: Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust with drinks and music by Friese Undine
Sponsored by Hendrick's Gin
Date: Friday, April 11
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $12
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
** Copies of Barnett's book The Book of Gin will be available for sale and signing.

For more than two centuries William Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’ has framed our ideas about the history of gin – a cheap, fiery spirit laced with turpentine, fuelling poverty and annihilating the fabric of society. ‘Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence …’ and all that. In this talk, author of The Book of Gin and Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will lead us on a walk down Gin Lane, to dissect the cultural and political realities behind this notorious epidemic. We’ll meet pamphleteers railing against gin, politicians legislating against it, bootleggers smuggling it, and poets great and god-awful singing its praises. Join us – if you dare – for an evening of Scorch-Gut, Kill-Me-Quick, Strip-Me-Naked.
Come for the lecture, and stay for delicious artisinal cocktails and thematic tunes courtesy of Friese Undine.

More here.
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Wearable Taxidermy Workshop with Morbid Anatomy Museum Taxidermist in residence Divya Anantharaman
Date: 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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The Electric Fictions of Nikola Tesla
Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
According to online comic The Oatmeal, Nikola Tesla – Serbian-American electrical engineer, techno-prophet, and heroic self-mythologist – was ‘the greatest geek who ever lived.’ Tesla collaborated with both Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, and invented or predicted many of the technologies on which our modern urban lives depend. But he is missing from many mainstream histories, and other writers have implicated him in conspiracies around free energy, time travel and death rays. In this talk, Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will follow Tesla's electric fictions from Serbia to Liberty Street in Manhattan and Wardenclyffe Tower on Long Island, against the backdrop of a decade that also witnessed the first modern UFO flaps, the birth of modern sci-fi, and the invention of popular cinema. In doing so, he will argue that Tesla’s work, and his enduring impact, owes just as much to pop culture as it does to hard science.

More here.
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The Sick Rose: Anatomy and Art in an Age of Revolution : Lecture and Book Signing with Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Date: Thursday, April 17
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
Copies of The Sick Rose will be available for sale and signing
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
Between the French Revolution and the First World War Europe and America witnessed a golden age of medical image-making. The first generation of mass-market anatomical and pathological textbooks and atlases offered crisp, detailed color illustrations of the human body in health and disease, and in doing so created a corpus of work that is beautiful and morbid, singular and sublime. Over the past year Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett has been writing about these images for The Sick Rose, the first in a new series of illustrated books made in collaboration with the Wellcome Library. In this talk, Dr. Barnett will tell the story of a revolution in medicine and art, and discuss the challenges in bringing these sometimes disturbing images to a wider audience.

More here.
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Fancy Pigeon Taxidermy Class with Morbid Anatomy Taxidermist in Residence Divya Ananthamaran
Date: 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 Beast in the Mirror: Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Date: Tuesday, April 22
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery
In the early twenty-first century neuroscientists and psychologists are looking again at the relationship between animal and human minds. This is a line of inquiry with deep roots in Western science, and some remarkably eccentric predecessors. In Mind in the Lower Animals in Health and Disease, published in 1879, the Scottish mad-doctor William Lauder Lindsay abandoned his human lunatics and turned to the animal kingdom. Lindsay ranged across continents and centuries, pillaging writers from Pliny to Darwin and ushering his readers into a dark world of ape neurosis and snake psychosis, suicidal scorpions and deranged, Prufockian lemmings. In this talk, Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will grab Lindsay’s work by its provocatively twitching tail, and use it to uncover the hidden history of animal minds in Victorian life science. Taking the dog for a walk will never be the same.
More here.

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Morbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release Party
brooklyn-brewery-logo-gold Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and with cocktails and music by Friese Undine
Date: NEW DATE: Saturday, April 26
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: Free
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
** Copies of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology will be available for sale and signing

Please join us for a night of drinks, music and books to celebrate the release of "The Morbid Anatomy Anthology," a 500 page, lavishly illustrated, hardbound and full-color book featuring 28 essays based on some of the most memorable lectures hosted by Morbid Anatomy since 2008. Included in the book are essays by Evan Michelson (star of Science Channel’s hit show "Oddities") featuring never before published photographs of the catacombs of Palermo; Simon Chaplin (head of the Wellcome Library) on public displays of corpses in Georgian England, Caitlin Doughty of the popular Ask a Mortician web series on demonic children and the witch trials of Europe, and Paul Koudounaris (author of Empire of Death) on a truck stop populated with human skulls. In addition are pieces on books bound in human skin, fin de siècle death-themed Parisian cafes, post-mortem photography, eroticized anatomical wax models, taxidermied humans and other animals, Santa Muerte, “artist of death” Frederik Ruysch, and much more. Many of the authors will be on hand to raise a glass with you and sign your copy of the book!

More here.

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Wondrous Tones: In Search of "Nature Music"
Illustrated Lecture with Emily I. Dolan, University of Pennsylvania
Date: Thursday, May 8
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)

What is nature’s voice? Does it understand harmony? Does it know melody? Can nature sing? During the early nineteenth century, many inventors and acousticians were fascinated by the idea of harnessing natural tones. The idea that music and nature are closely bound is an ancient one that stretches back to the harmony of the spheres. The “nature music” of this period, however, was understood not as silent mathematical proportions, but rather as actual sound: beautiful, ethereal tones that were thought to linger from a prelapsarian time. Musicologist Emily I. Dolan explores the many attempts to organize and control the voice of nature by means of new, and often fantastical, musical instruments.
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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Special Walter Potter Edition - Anthropomorphic Bunny Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman and Katie Innamorato
Date: Sunday May 18th
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Admission: $350
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), Brooklyn, NY
Subway: 4th Av – 9th Street (R – F – G)
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
**Tickets can be purchased by clicking here

Anthropomorphic taxidermy–in which taxidermied animals are posed into human attitudes and poses–was an artform made famous by Victorian taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. In this class, students will learn to create–from start to finish–anthropomorphic bunnies inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Mr. Potter and his ilk. This class will cover all the more advanced techniques used in rabbit taxidermy from start to finish-from proper skinning and fleshing techniques, how to split, turn and position rabbit ears, dry preservation, and the traditional methods of building their own form using wrapped body. Extra special bunny sized Potter themed props will be provided, and instruction on how to create your own props, such as hats and monocles, will be provided. Students will also be provided with materials to make antlers, horns, or tentacles. As always, students are also welcome to bring their own props or accessories if desired.

More here.
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Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night
Hosted by Daisy Tainton

Date: Tuesday, May 20th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $15 (includes one free adult beverage)
Purchase tickets here.
Are you dying to show off your knowledge of death, diseases and afflictions? Want to meet some like-minded New Yorkers and discuss fun topics like New York's burgeoning measles outbreak? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, we hope you’ll join us for our second Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night!
Play games with historical, anatomical and medical themes. Meet interesting singles with whom you actually have something in common, curiosity-seekers to join you on your next graveyard tour, or simply hang out with the Morbid Anatomy Team and pick our brains!

Read more about last month's iteration on Nerve.com by clicking here.

More here.
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Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date:  Sunday, June 1st
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Offsite*** Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave, Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Admission: $110
*** Purchase tickets by clicking here.
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

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 here.

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Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton
Date: Saturday, June 14
Time: 1 – 4 PM
Admission: $75
***Must buy ticket here
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
***Offsite*** Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave
Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Today, join former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton for Morbid Anatomy’s popular Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop.
Rhinoceros beetles: nature’s tiny giants. Adorable, with their giant heads and tiny legs, and wonderful antler-like protrusions. If you think they would be even more adorable drinking tiny beers and holding tiny fishing poles, we have the perfect class for you! In today’s workshop, students will learn to make–and leave with their own!–shadowbox dioramas featuring carefully positioned beetles doing nearly anything you can imagine.
Xylotrupes gideon beetles will be available, one per student. They measure about 3″ tall when standing vertically.

More here.

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

"Sending your Prayers to Me Will Cure the Ailment of the Soul" or The Bayer Aspirin Prayer Card: Guest post by Laetitia Barbier

One of the more intriguing new additions to the Morbid Anatomy collection is this glow-in-the-dark Bayer Aspirin Prayer card. Its donor, Enric H. March of the wonderful Barcelona history blog Bereshit explained to me that it dates from the 1940s and was produced during the Spanish Civil Postwar, while the Nazis were reshaping the map of Europe.

How to explain this heady mix of Christian imagery and medicine? In March's words: "aspirin and sacred wafer are similar in form and content, and complement each other: where there is no faith, aspirin; where there is aspirin, faith. This image is made with fluorescent paint, and lights the darkness. If you look intently image for thirty seconds and then directs you to view a white surface, it appears God. True. I do not need faith. As with aspirin."

Following is a guest post by Morbid Anatomy Library head Librarian Laetitia Barbier based into her research into this wonderful new addition to our collection:
After the Congress of Curious People in Barcelona, Joanna came back with a suitcase full of newly acquired books and artifacts for the Library. Within all these treasures, one piece of ephemera was particularly fascinating and enigmatic to me: a Bayer-produced religious card which appeared in Spain around the 1940s, and which was kindly donated by Enric H. March.

If “The Sacred Heart of Jesus” is fairly common motif  in catholic devotional icons, this one revealed itself to one of a kind. Beneath its minimal, black and white design, this compassionate-looking Christ had indeed more than one story to tell.

First curious fact: the right hand-corner is embossed with a cross-like logo which has nothing religious, as its the emblem of BAYER, the german pharmaceutical firm which synthesized and patterned Aspirin in the 19th Century. A “major remedy,” and a universal one, as indicated the small text in spanish that Jesus points-up to our attention with his benedictory hand gesture. I was pretty confused myself: was this a pious image or a commercial ad? The idea that a Jesus image could become an advocate of Aspirin’s effervescence and miraculous virtues was odd and pretty incongruous. However, it appeared clear that BAYER designed this object to be both a religious icon and a way to publicize their medicine.
In the manner of catholic prayer cards, The BAYER Sacred Heart was probably mass produced as a devotional object that people could carry around in books or wallet and use for private veneration. Nowadays, pharmaceutical firms give away pens, mugs, and other every-day objects to potential clients, so why not an icon when you want to seduce a Roman Catholic country? Moreover, the cardboard icon is coated with glow-in-the-dark-ink, leaving Jesus’s heart to glare metaphorically once the lights go out, after the night-time prayer. This card had to become a major artifact in people’s daily religious routine.

But beyond its novelty aspect, its most fascinating side dwell the underlying message which form the core of this twisted commercial strategy. If this Christ could talk, he will probably whispers to us this exact slogan: "Sending your prayers to me will cure the ailment of the soul. But for the prosaic torments of the human body, there is Bayer Aspirin.”
This is the third guest post Laetitia has written based on her favorite curiosities in the Morbid Anatomy Library; to see all posts by Laetitia, click here. Click on images to see larger, more detailed versions.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Picturing the Shattered Faces of War: A Guest Post by Kristin Hussey, Hunterian Museum, London


Kristin Hussey--Assistant Curator of the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons with responsibility for the Odontological Collection--has kindly agreed to write a series of guest posts for Morbid Anatomy about some of the most curious objects in her collection.

The fourth post from that series follows; you can view all posts in this series by clicking here.
Picturing the shattered faces of War: First World War dental radiographs
The Victorian era was a crucial time of development for the dental profession, yet nothing could have prepared late 19th century dental practitioners for the massive facial trauma wrought by the First World War (1914-1918). In a conflict fought in trenches, soldier’s heads were the most vulnerable area in the line of fire. While steel helmets undoubtedly saved lives, ricocheting bullets caused unprecedented facial injuries. Mechanized warfare sent soldier home from the Front with disfiguring blast injuries; their shattered jaws held together by wire plating and splints made from whatever materials the clearing stations had to hand.

Many British soldiers with jaw injuries found themselves bound for the Croydon War Hospital outside London to a specialist unit headed by James Frank Colyer (1866-1954), a dental surgeon and the curator of the Odontological Society Museum since 1900. Today the Odontological Collection holds a collection of 23 radiographs, also known as skiagrams, showing the shattered jaws of Colyer’s soldier patients.

Colyer’s prescription for healing fractured jaws was simple but effective. First the patients’ mouths needed to be cleaned and sterilized as their injuries often became infected in the time it took to reach the hospital. Once radiographs were taken, they were taken to the operating theatre to reduce the fracture as much as possible. Colyer was particularly adamant that teeth needed to be removed from the fracture line as these often became septic, keeping the bone from healing. Then supportive splints, rest and a carefully selected diet was what was needed to get Britain’s soldiers fighting fit. For his work at the Croydon Hospital, Colyer was knighted in 1920.

The collection of radiographs in the Odontological Collection is interesting both as a record of First World War injuries, as well as serving as a reminder of the incredible importance of x-ray technology in the early twentieth century. X-rays, also known as roentgen rays, had only been discovered by German Professor William Röntgen in 1895. The new technology was put to use almost immediately in the medical world, and many major hospitals had x-ray departments by 1897. By the time the First World War was raging on the Continent, portable x-ray units were widely used by the military and such equipment could be found at most clearing stations and base hospitals. Although the images are not as detailed as they are today, the radiographs were essential in identifying foreign bodies and fractures previously invisible to the dentist’s eye.
Images:
  1. The x-ray equipment at The Queen’s Hospital, Sidcup, c. 1917-1920. Courtesy of the Antony Wallace Archive of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS)
  2. Radiograph of a fractured jaw caused by a rifle bullet, 1915-1919. (RCSOM/F 9.42) Copyright the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons
  3. Radiograph of a fractured jaw resulting from a fall from a mast, 1915-1919. (RCSOM/F 8.3) Copyright the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons
  4. A portable x-ray installation suitable for use in war, 1915. Copyright Wellcome Library, London.  
     

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On Saint Agatha and Preserved Breasts: Guest Post by Evan Michelson, TV's "Oddities" and Morbid Anatomy Museum

Below is a guest post by Evan Michelson, board member of The Morbid Anatomy Museum and co-star of TV's "Oddities," from our recent trip exploring the history of the preservation and display of the human body in Italy. Text by Evan, and photo by myself.
Joanna Ebenstein shot this at the Museo di Anatomia Umana located in the medical school in Pisa, Italy. I am holding a human breast, preserved through mercury injection using the Mascagni technique; you can still see the metal glistening in the vessels running through the glazed, preserved skin. This specimen has an ancient and somewhat festive look; a cross between a holy relic and marzipan. It is typical of a certain school of Italian anatomical preservation where the line between anatomical didacticism and a more decorative, metaphorical presentation is often blurred.
In Italy, the healing powers of science and medicine often walk hand-in-hand with the miraculous, restorative powers of the saints. St. Agatha of Sicily, patron saint of breast cancer (among other things) is often depicted presenting her amputated breasts on a tray. It is said that Agatha was martyred for being a virtuous woman who refused the advances of a local Roman prelate; in the course of his retaliatory torture her breasts were torn off (a not-uncommon punishment for women, much documented during the Medieval period). St. Peter visited Agatha in her jail cell, where he miraculously restored her mutilated mammaries. 

Breast cancer surgery was frequently (but not always) fatal for most of recorded human history: the cancer was often found too late and the surgery itself, performed in highly unsanitary conditions, often led to serious complications. By the time a woman sought medical help, she was usually in great distress - obviously disfigured and/or in serious pain. A terrifying, risky visit to the surgeon was the only option left to her. It is only relatively recently that early detection and advanced surgical techniques have made seemingly-miraculous breast reconstruction a common occurrence. Anatomical collections like the one in Pisa had an important part to play in the progress of scientific and medical advancement. Mysterious, strangely decorative preservations like this breast are a part of that story.
You can read more of Evan's writings on her Facebook page by clicking here. You can find out more about the museum by clicking here.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Morbid Anatomy Museum is Coming Soon and it Needs Your Help!

For over six years, Morbid Anatomy has been showcasing, preserving, and championing forgotten and liminal artifacts, art, and ideas, providing a home for those things which would otherwise fall through the cracks of collection, informed discussion and exhibition. Now, Morbid Anatomy is moving into a 3-floor, 4,200 square foot building in the Gowanus and completely renovating it. But to do it--and to make it the most fantastic space possible--we need your help!

Towards that end, we have just launched a Kickstarter campaign--which you can view by clicking here--featuring such exciting awards as limited edition prints by artists Mark Ryden and Mark Dion (3rd and 4th images down); "experiential awards" with stars of TV's Oddities including a trip to Brimfield antiques market with Evan Michelson, shooting antique guns with Mike Zohn and a private tour of Ryan Matthew Cohn's astounding home museum; a collectable set piece from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas; tickets to our popular Morbid Anatomy Museum annual Day of the Dead bus trip; a private party in the museum; special Morbid Anatomy merch; and much, much more!

You can find out more--and contribute to what we hope you'll agree is a very worthy cause!--by clicking here. You can watch the wonderful intro video byfilmmaker in residence Ronni Thomas of The Midnight Archive and narrated by Oddities's Evan Michelson above.

Beyond the great awards, why should you considering lending your support to The Morbid Anatomy Museum? Here are a few reasons: it will be a beautiful and inspiring space to foster our unique international community of supporters, friends, artists, rogue scholars and like-minded enthusiasts; it will enshrine that which we hold dear; and it will be a place to study, to delight; a place to “meet the others.” It will also feature:
  • An inaugural temporary exhibition on 19th century anthropomorphic taxidermist Walter Potter, which will reunite many pieces from his now divided museum include the incredible circa 1890 Kitten Wedding (second image down)
  • An enlarged, beautiful library to house our rapidly expanding collection of over 2,500 books
  • An exhibition space to showcase our ever-growing permanent collection 
  • A gift shop with our own quirky merch, taxidermy, waxworks, curiosia and obscure books from around the world
  • A café serving espresso and pastries seven days a week, with plans to expand to a full bar
  • More publications by Morbid Anatomy Press
  • A new lecture and event space capable of holding twice our current numbers featuring talks by Morbid Anatomy favorites such as Stanley Burns (The Burns Archive), Paul Koudounaris (Empire of Death), Amy Herzog, Caitlin Doughty (Ask a Mortician), and Evan Michelson and Mike Zohn of TV’s Oddities.
  • Expanded public programing including visiting international scholars such as Richard Barnett (Wellcome Collection), Mel Gordon (Voluptuous Panic, Grand Guignol) and John Troyer (Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath)
  • More field trips and classes, and live-casting of lectures
  • A film branch, with filmmaker in residence Ronni Thomas of The Midnight Archive
  • A rooftop terrace where you can enjoy a cocktail while taking in breathtaking views of industrial Brooklyn and the mighty Gowanus Canal
Again, you can find out more--and donate now!--by clicking here. Whether you can contribute or not, we hope very much to see you soon in the new museum!


Images, top to bottom:
  1. Rendering of the Morbid Anatomy Museum by Architects Robert Kirkbride and Anthony Cohn
  2. Kitten Wedding by Walter Potter; to be on view at The Morbid Anatomy Museum in June
  3. Mark Ryden, “Tree of Mystery”An limited edition artwork by Mark Ryden in a beautiful hand-carved wood frame
  4. Limited edition signed and number print by Mark Dion, available only as part of this kickstarter!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Heroic Figure of Death with Three Female Allegories, Pen and Ink, 18th Century?

An heroic figure of Death with three female allegories. Pen and ink drawing. 18th Century? 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Two Allegorical Figures, Lithograph, Wellcome Images

Two allegorical figures: a skeleton holding a scythe and a ball of fire stands next to a female figure. Lithograph. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Job Opening: Morbid Anatomy Museum Cafe Manager!

Interested in the role of Morbid Anatomy Museum cafe manager (on which full details below)? If so, please send resumes to colin [at] morbidanatomymuseum.org. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until filled.
The Morbid Anatomy Museum, a brand-new museum in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn opening in May 2014, is seeking a manager to oversee, staff, and run our café, which will be serving primarily espresso and pastries (with the hope of acquiring a full service liquor license sometime in the near future). 
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
  • Manages the café team (including: hiring, firing, performance management, and recognition duties)
  • Trains new employees and provides ongoing training as necessary for café staff
  • Coordinates the café schedule, covering different shifts if necessary
  • Coordinate between the café and its staff and the rest of the museum, including the gift shop, public lectures and events, private parties, and other museum events
  • Establishes, monitors and analyzes the café budget
  • Develops and implements café policies and procedures
  • Manages vendors and maintains inventory
  • Orders any supplies needed for the café
  • Other duties as needed
REQUIRED SKILLS, CERTIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE
  • Experience in food and beverage service
  • Excellent management, organizational and communication skills
  • An understanding of food and beverage operations
  • Must be able to work days, evenings, and weekends as necessary
  • CPR, First Aid, and AED certifications (must be obtained within 60 days of hire)
Image: Possibly Café de l’Enfer (Café of Hell); sourced here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Uranian Phalanstery, The Klan in America, And Morbid Singles Night Take Two: Upcoming Events at Morbid Anatomy!

We have scores of great events coming up in the months to come at Morbid Anatomy! 

First, we have a newly announced lecture and artifact show and tell with Mike Zohn of TV's Oddities on The Surprising Story of the Ku Klux Klan in America (Friday, April 4). Following, we two new events hosted by Daisy Tainton: first, a reprise of our (to our great surprise) very successful singles night: Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night (Tuesday May 20) (you can read more about last month's event on Nerve.com by clicking here); and second, a new iteration of Tainton's popular Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop (Saturday, June 14). 

In other important event news, PLEASE NOTE that the "Morbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release Party date has changed from April 16th to Saturday April 26th, and will now take place at the new Morbid Anatomy Museum (424A 3rd Ave Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn).

This week we also hope you'll join us for The Uranian Phalanstery: A Utopian Artistic Community and Bizarre Museum of Material Culture with Photographer Ves Pitts (Tuesday, March 18).

Onward and upward in the weeks and months to come, we have many other offerings including Preserved In Glass: The Art and History of Wet Specimens with Mark Batelli of Obscura Antiques (Tuesday, March 25); The ‘After’ Life: Death in Ancient Egypt with Ava Forte Vitali (Thursday, March 27); our free Morbid Anatomy Anthology Book Release Party (Friday, April 18) and our special Morbid Anatomy Baltimore Field-Trip Featuring The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (March 29; Just a few slots left!); Wondrous Tones: In Search of "Nature Music" with Emily I. Dolan, University of Pennsylvania (Thursday, May 8)

In April, we're pleased to be presenting a full month of lectures by our first visiting scholar in residence Dr Richard Barnett--London-based author, Cambridge professor, and Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow. His offerings include a reading/discussion group (The Sublime: After the Fall: History, Anatomy and The Sublime; Mondays March 31 - April 21); two booze-soaked lectures devoted to the history of gin as explored in his Book of Gin (Quintessence Of A Mystery: The Birth Of Gin; Thursday, April 10 and Dutch Courage And Mothers’ Ruin: The Gin Craze; Friday, April 11); a lecture and party for his new book on pathological atlases The Sick Rose (The Sick Rose: Anatomy and Art in an Age of Revolution; Thursday, April 17); as well as talks on Nikola Tesla (The Electric Fictions of Nikola Tesla; Sunday, April 13) and 19th century ideas of animal and human minds (The Beast in the Mirror; Tuesday, April 22).

For those who prefer to learn arcane skills, we have a number of excellent workshop offerings including  Squirrel Taxidermy Class (Sunday, March 23); Wearable Taxidermy Workshop (Sunday, April 13); Fancy Pigeon Taxidermy Class (Sunday, April 20); The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry; Mother's Day Special (Saturday, May 10); Special Walter Potter Edition - Anthropomorphic Bunny Taxidermy Class  (Sunday May 18th);  Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman (Sunday, June 1st); and the afore mentioned Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton (Saturday, June 14).

Full list and more information on all events can be found here. Hope to see you at one or more of these terrific events!
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The Uranian Phalanstery: A Utopian Artistic Community and Bizarre Museum of Material Culture
Illustrated lecture with Photographer Ves Pitts
Date: Tuesday, March 18
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
The Uranian Phalanstery is an utopian artist's community based in New York City. It is also something of a bizarre museum, displaying layer upon layer of abject, religious, mundane and seemingly contradictory material culture in startlingly idiosyncratic ways. Established by husband and wife Richard Tyler and Dorothea Baer after meeting at The Art Institute of Chicago in the 1950s, The Phalanstery calls for its members to follow ”Creativity in Practice of the Path” while compiling a life work in art. Its form--built around the idea of a small, common living community--was inspired by the utopian ideas of Philosopher Charles Fourier (1772 – 1837). Over its thirty years of operation, The Phalanstery has cultivated such artists and thinkers as Monroe Wheeler, Timothy Leary and Clause Oldenburg. Tonight, Pitts will share the fascinating story of his time at The Uranian Phalanstery illustrated by his own haunting photographs.

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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Preserved In Glass: The Art and History of Wet SpecimensIlllustrated lecture with Mark Batelli, Wet Specimen Restorer at Obscura Antiques
Date: Tuesday, March 25
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
"Wet specimens" preserve an organic object--be it a human body part, zoological specimen or plant--in fluids such as alcohol or formalin and airtight case, generally for use by student of science and medicine. Such pieces can last indefinitely; many specimens--some stretching back to the hundreds of years--still exist today, looking much as they did when originally preserved. Earliest wet specimens--such as those by Bernahard Albinus and Frederik Ruysch--were often also highly inventive and artistic, and valued as collectables by private collectors, aspiring cabinetists and museums alike. This illustrated lecture will outline the art and history of these fascinating objects, focusing on their inception, development, refinement, obsolescence, and present day relevance.
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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After the Fall: History, Anatomy and The Sublime: A Reading and Discussion Group with Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Dates: Mondays March 31, April 7, April 14 and April 21
Time: 7-9 PM
Admission: $60
Tickets must be pre-purchased by clicking here (Limited to 15 people)
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
The sublime has taken many forms in Western history: Kant gazing awestruck at the starry sky above; Friedrich’s solitary wanderers in the mountains of the mind; Darwin insisting in the Origin of Species that ‘there is grandeur in this view of life’; Oppenheimer witnessing the first nuclear test and murmuring ‘I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’. But – as these examples suggest – the sublime is is always a kind of confrontation with our edges, something that happens when flawed and mortal human beings are brought up short against the limitless, the infinite, that which seems to exceed all boundaries. Over four weekly evening sessions we’ll read some of the first writers to provide aesthetic and philosophical theories of the sublime. We’ll encounter it in Romantic science and Enlightenment anatomy. We’ll trace its troubled journey through the killing fields of the twentieth century. And we’ll pick up its traces in the forests of the internet, part of a world where human form and identity is coming to seem infinitely malleable (if not infinitely extendable).
More here.

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The Surprising Story of the Ku Klux Klan in America: Lecture and Artifact Show and Tell with Mike Zohn of TV's Oddities
Date: Friday, April 4
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
A few years ago, Mike Zohn of TV's Oddities found, at his local flea market, a bizarre panoramic photograph (dated 1925) showing a huge group of delegates from the Delaware chapter of the Ku Klux Klan posing--in full costume--in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Not long after, he came across a motion lamp from the same time period depicting the flaming cross emblem of the K.K.K.. These two artifacts led Mike to ask a number of questions: what was the story with this particular group of Klans Men, and what were they doing posing in front of the Capital building? And how could it be that the infamous icon of murderous intolerance--the flaming cross--could have become the subject of a prosaic, commercially sold motion lamp almost as if it The Klan were just another club such as the rotary club or the masons?

More here.
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Quintessence Of A Mystery: The Birth Of Gin: Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust, with cocktails by Ronni Thomas
Date: Thursday, April 10
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
** Copies of Barnett's book The Book of Gin will be available for sale and signing
Globalization, the consumer society, the Glorious Revolution – each was conceived in gin. In this talk, author of The Book of Gin and Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will reveal the ways in which this fiery, mysterious spirit captured the imaginations of all kinds of early modern Europeans. We’ll meet gentlemen pursuing natural philosophy in their private closets, physicians seeking new medicines and restoratives, alchemists searching for the elixir of life, and (of course) distillers looking to make money from the basic, visceral human drive for intoxication. Why were two heady, symbolically–charged substances – juniper and spirit – brought together in the same glass? What adventures did they have before and after this union? And just how did gin come to be consumed in such vast quantities – for health, for pleasure and for the promise of immortality?

More here.

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Dutch Courage And Mothers’ Ruin: The Gin Craze Lecture with Cocktails by Friese Undine: Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust with drinks and music by Friese Undine
Date: Friday, April 11
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $12
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
** Copies of Barnett's book The Book of Gin will be available for sale and signing.

For more than two centuries William Hogarth’s ‘Gin Lane’ has framed our ideas about the history of gin – a cheap, fiery spirit laced with turpentine, fuelling poverty and annihilating the fabric of society. ‘Drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence …’ and all that. In this talk, author of The Book of Gin and Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will lead us on a walk down Gin Lane, to dissect the cultural and political realities behind this notorious epidemic. We’ll meet pamphleteers railing against gin, politicians legislating against it, bootleggers smuggling it, and poets great and god-awful singing its praises. Join us – if you dare – for an evening of Scorch-Gut, Kill-Me-Quick, Strip-Me-Naked.
Come for the lecture, and stay for delicious artisinal cocktails and thematic tunes courtesy of Friese Undine.

More here.
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Wearable Taxidermy Workshop with Morbid Anatomy Museum Taxidermist in residence Divya Anantharaman
Date: 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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The Electric Fictions of Nikola Tesla
Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
According to online comic The Oatmeal, Nikola Tesla – Serbian-American electrical engineer, techno-prophet, and heroic self-mythologist – was ‘the greatest geek who ever lived.’ Tesla collaborated with both Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, and invented or predicted many of the technologies on which our modern urban lives depend. But he is missing from many mainstream histories, and other writers have implicated him in conspiracies around free energy, time travel and death rays. In this talk, Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will follow Tesla's electric fictions from Serbia to Liberty Street in Manhattan and Wardenclyffe Tower on Long Island, against the backdrop of a decade that also witnessed the first modern UFO flaps, the birth of modern sci-fi, and the invention of popular cinema. In doing so, he will argue that Tesla’s work, and his enduring impact, owes just as much to pop culture as it does to hard science.

More here.
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The Sick Rose: Anatomy and Art in an Age of Revolution : Lecture and Book Signing with Morbid Anatomy Museum Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Date: Thursday, April 17
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
Copies of The Sick Rose will be available for sale and signing
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)
Between the French Revolution and the First World War Europe and America witnessed a golden age of medical image-making. The first generation of mass-market anatomical and pathological textbooks and atlases offered crisp, detailed color illustrations of the human body in health and disease, and in doing so created a corpus of work that is beautiful and morbid, singular and sublime. Over the past year Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett has been writing about these images for The Sick Rose, the first in a new series of illustrated books made in collaboration with the Wellcome Library. In this talk, Dr. Barnett will tell the story of a revolution in medicine and art, and discuss the challenges in bringing these sometimes disturbing images to a wider audience.

More here.
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Fancy Pigeon Taxidermy Class with Morbid Anatomy Taxidermist in Residence Divya Ananthamaran
Date: 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 Beast in the Mirror: Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Date: Tuesday, April 22
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery
In the early twenty-first century neuroscientists and psychologists are looking again at the relationship between animal and human minds. This is a line of inquiry with deep roots in Western science, and some remarkably eccentric predecessors. In Mind in the Lower Animals in Health and Disease, published in 1879, the Scottish mad-doctor William Lauder Lindsay abandoned his human lunatics and turned to the animal kingdom. Lindsay ranged across continents and centuries, pillaging writers from Pliny to Darwin and ushering his readers into a dark world of ape neurosis and snake psychosis, suicidal scorpions and deranged, Prufockian lemmings. In this talk, Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will grab Lindsay’s work by its provocatively twitching tail, and use it to uncover the hidden history of animal minds in Victorian life science. Taking the dog for a walk will never be the same.
More here.

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Morbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release Party
brooklyn-brewery-logo-gold Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and with cocktails and music by Friese Undine
Date: NEW DATE: Saturday, April 26
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: Free
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
** Copies of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology will be available for sale and signing

Please join us for a night of drinks, music and books to celebrate the release of "The Morbid Anatomy Anthology," a 500 page, lavishly illustrated, hardbound and full-color book featuring 28 essays based on some of the most memorable lectures hosted by Morbid Anatomy since 2008. Included in the book are essays by Evan Michelson (star of Science Channel’s hit show "Oddities") featuring never before published photographs of the catacombs of Palermo; Simon Chaplin (head of the Wellcome Library) on public displays of corpses in Georgian England, Caitlin Doughty of the popular Ask a Mortician web series on demonic children and the witch trials of Europe, and Paul Koudounaris (author of Empire of Death) on a truck stop populated with human skulls. In addition are pieces on books bound in human skin, fin de siècle death-themed Parisian cafes, post-mortem photography, eroticized anatomical wax models, taxidermied humans and other animals, Santa Muerte, “artist of death” Frederik Ruysch, and much more. Many of the authors will be on hand to raise a glass with you and sign your copy of the book!

More here.

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Wondrous Tones: In Search of "Nature Music"
Illustrated Lecture with Emily I. Dolan, University of Pennsylvania
Date: Thursday, May 8
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery)

What is nature’s voice? Does it understand harmony? Does it know melody? Can nature sing? During the early nineteenth century, many inventors and acousticians were fascinated by the idea of harnessing natural tones. The idea that music and nature are closely bound is an ancient one that stretches back to the harmony of the spheres. The “nature music” of this period, however, was understood not as silent mathematical proportions, but rather as actual sound: beautiful, ethereal tones that were thought to linger from a prelapsarian time. Musicologist Emily I. Dolan explores the many attempts to organize and control the voice of nature by means of new, and often fantastical, musical instruments.
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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Special Walter Potter Edition - Anthropomorphic Bunny Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman and Katie Innamorato
Date: Sunday May 18th
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Admission: $350
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), Brooklyn, NY
Subway: 4th Av – 9th Street (R – F – G)
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
**Tickets can be purchased by clicking here

Anthropomorphic taxidermy–in which taxidermied animals are posed into human attitudes and poses–was an artform made famous by Victorian taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. In this class, students will learn to create–from start to finish–anthropomorphic bunnies inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Mr. Potter and his ilk. This class will cover all the more advanced techniques used in rabbit taxidermy from start to finish-from proper skinning and fleshing techniques, how to split, turn and position rabbit ears, dry preservation, and the traditional methods of building their own form using wrapped body. Extra special bunny sized Potter themed props will be provided, and instruction on how to create your own props, such as hats and monocles, will be provided. Students will also be provided with materials to make antlers, horns, or tentacles. As always, students are also welcome to bring their own props or accessories if desired.

More here.
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Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night
Hosted by Daisy Tainton

Date: Tuesday, May 20th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $15 (includes one free adult beverage)
Purchase tickets here.
Are you dying to show off your knowledge of death, diseases and afflictions? Want to meet some like-minded New Yorkers and discuss fun topics like New York's burgeoning measles outbreak? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, we hope you’ll join us for our second Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night!
Play games with historical, anatomical and medical themes. Meet interesting singles with whom you actually have something in common, curiosity-seekers to join you on your next graveyard tour, or simply hang out with the Morbid Anatomy Team and pick our brains!

Read more about last month's iteration on Nerve.com by clicking here.

More here.
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Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date:  Sunday, June 1st
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Offsite*** Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave, Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Admission: $110
*** Purchase tickets by clicking here.
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

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 here.

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Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton
Date: Saturday, June 14
Time: 1 – 4 PM
Admission: $75
***Must buy ticket here
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
***Offsite*** Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave
Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Today, join former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton for Morbid Anatomy’s popular Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop.
Rhinoceros beetles: nature’s tiny giants. Adorable, with their giant heads and tiny legs, and wonderful antler-like protrusions. If you think they would be even more adorable drinking tiny beers and holding tiny fishing poles, we have the perfect class for you! In today’s workshop, students will learn to make–and leave with their own!–shadowbox dioramas featuring carefully positioned beetles doing nearly anything you can imagine.
Xylotrupes gideon beetles will be available, one per student. They measure about 3″ tall when standing vertically.

More here.

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