Sunday, October 29, 2017

Poster for Fritz Lang film Totentanz, or The Dance of Death, Josef Fenneker, 1919
Poster for the lost Fritz Lang film Totentanz, or The Dance of Death, 1919. The film tells the tale of a beautiful dancer who is “used by an evil cripple to entice men to their deaths.” The idea of the Dance of Death stretches back to the middle ages, but continues to have relevance and fascination today.

Find out more about this--and over 1,000 other works at the intersections of art and death--in the new book Death: A Graveside Companion by our founder Joanna Ebenstein. You can find out more--and order a copy of your own!--here.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Morbid Anatomy News and Happenings: Book, Events, Utopia / Dystopia Series with Hauser and Wirth, and More!


We have lots of exciting news and events to announce today.

First up is the new book Death: A Graveside Companion, edited by Morbid Anatomy founder Joanna Ebenstein. This nearly 400 page book is packed with over 1,000 images (many never before published!) and 19 essays exploring the intersections of art and death. You can find out more about the book--or pre-order a copy--by clicking here.

We have organized a number of events to celebrate the book's release. The first will take place at London's Horse Hospital next Wednesday, October 18. This will consists of short talks by a number of contributors including John Troyer, Eleanor Crook and Mark Pilkington. Books will also be available at a discounted rate. Find out more--and get tickets--here.

We also have three book-related events taking place in New York City. The first is our official book release, taking the form of an all day symposium exploring the intersection of death and beauty with nearly a dozen short talks, screenings, and show and tells. It will take place in the historic chapel of Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery on Saturday, October 28. Ticket price includes lunch, and books will be available at a special discounted rate. Green-Wood Cemetery. More (and tickets) here.

A few days later, on Wednesday, November 1 (Day of the dead!) the book's editor will present a selection of images relating to art and death followed by a conversation with Jennifer Wright, author of Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them at New York Public Library. This event is free, but advance registration is recommended; You can find out more (and reserve a ticket) here. The final event will be a a highly illustrated introduction to the ways in which humankind has imagined, come to terms with and even celebrated death at The Brooklyn Historical Society on Thursday, November 2; You can find out more (and get tickets) here.

Ebenstein will also be speaking at Maine's Bowdoin College Museum of Art on the topic of Death, Beauty and Metaphysics: Art, Science and Memento Mori in Early Anatomical Representation
on Thursday, November 9. This event is free and open to the public, and is produced in tandem with the current exhibition The Ivory Mirror: The Art of Mortality in Renaissance Europe. You can find out more here.

And finally, Morbid Anatomy is teaming up with Hauser and Wirth gallery in New York City for an event series entitled Utopia / Dystopia in which we will attempt to investigate, over 7 nights, the following questions, via a series of screenings, talks and presentations:
Is the yearning for a lost paradise a human universal? And is it always doomed to failure? In what ways do our attempts to create a paradise on earth backfire? Is there always, truly, a serpent in the garden?
The first night of this series will explore the seemingly paradoxical idea of Dystopian Amusements; it will take place on Wednesday October 25 and will feature short talks and screenings by writer Jane Rose, Morbid Anatomy founder (and former Coney Island Museum artist-in-residence) Joanna Ebenstein and filmmaker Ronni Thomas. The event is free, but must RSVP; You can find out more (and get tickets) here. 

Future events in the series will include a night devoted to Sexual Utopias with writer Asti Hustvedt, alchemist Brian Cotnoir, and sociologist Massimo Introvigne on Wednesday November 15, and Accidental Dystopia: El Helicoide – From Mall to Prison with Celeste Olalquiaga--author of The Artificial Kingdom--on Wednesday, December 6. More on those events when they go live.

Thanks for your support, and we hope very much to see you at one or more of these great events!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

As Far as the Eye Can Travel : A Miniature Photographic Cabinet of Curiosities by Chiara Ambrosio

Chiara Ambrosio--a good friend of Morbid Anatomy and a contributor to our recent Morbid Anatomy Anthology--has created a charming, miniature series of zines she describes as a "paper Wunderkammer."

More on this project, in her own words, below. For more information--or to get a copy for yourself-- click here. Questions or comments can be emailed to Chiara Ambrosio at chiaraambrosio [at] gmail [dot] com.
As Far As The Eye Can Travel is a paper Wunderkammer that gathers together geographies of the mind, topographies of the soul and physical excavations: curious chance encounters, moments of discovery, unexpected revelations that will surprise, enchant and spark uncharted flights of the imagination as far as the eye can--and will--travel. It is a magnifying glass through which to look at the real world anew and reveal all the magic and wonder that lies within it.

Published monthly, entirely handmade, and distributed through the post, these zines are a celebration of the small and near invisible: an archive of the incongruities, gestures and poetic collisions that illuminate and transform our reality, captured through the medium of photography and rendered as small pocket books that fit in the palm of your hand.

They are handmade talismans, amulets and portals: the captured images are given to the paper, transformed into charged objects that assist in an act of conjuring. They offer a way to challenge mainstream narratives, suggesting that meaningful and transformative events happen often unnoticed, and that through the act of paying attention to what is seemingly marginal, real change and revelation can occur. They are an act of commitment to the mystery of presence, a search for continuity within the cracks and the margins. 
As Far As The Eye Can Travel is an investigation into the medium of photography and its power to capture, translate and preserve a transient moment, a thought, an epiphany. They are an answer to the overwhelming daily deluge of digital images that often blinds us, and an attempt to re-engage with the act of looking as a radical form of commitment: each book, like a precious bottle of perfume, is a distilled essence of life, and it is the product of a patient, generous and hopeful form of engagement with the world.
Photography and the printed matter together can make us see and touch the world again, dispelling our feelings of loss and loneliness at the thought of a distant, removed and alienating reality. Watch it all bloom again, from seed into vigorous tree- an image, a single seed that yields endless stories, and invites you to contribute to the never-ending journey.

Seeing as a revolutionary act of resistance!

As Far As The Eye Can Travel is published monthly and sent in the post worldwide and is available through a yearly subscription. It is also available as yearly boxed sets that come in a handmade cardboard suitcase.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Day Long Symposium on Art and Death at Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery, October 28

Attention New Yorkers: On Saturday, October 28, we will be hosting a day-long symposium dedicated to the intersections of art and death at Green-Wood Cemetery to celebrate the publication of Death: A Graveside Companion, edited by Morbid Anatomy creator Joanna Ebenstein. Tickets and more can be found here.

This book, published by Thames and Hudson, features over 1,000 images exploring humankind's imaginings of death, many largely unseen and drawn from The Richard Harris death collection. It also contains 19 essays by a variety of Morbid Anatomy regulars on a variety of art and death related topics.

Presenters--most of whom also contributed to the book--include medical historian Michael Sappol; Evan Michelson of Obscura Antiques and Oddities and TV's Oddities; hair artist and art historian Karen Bachmannn; filmmaker Eva Aridjis Porter; Ronni Thomas of the The Midnight Archive; photographer Shannon Taggart; Bruce Goldfarb of Baltimore’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner; medical illustrator Marie Dauenheimer; Morbid Anatomy’s Joanna Ebenstein and Laetitia Barbier; and more. Talks, screenings, and show-and-tells will span the allure of Victorian hair art made to mourn the dead, Géricault's morgue paintings used as studies for the Raft of the Medusa, The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, death in Mexico, photography of spirits after death, the surprising history of the guillotine, anatomical self identity, and much more.

Books will be available at a special discounted rate, lunch will be provided, and many contributors will be on hand to sign copies of the book.

There will also be an after party with music by Friese Undine and magic lantern projections by Joel Schlemowitz.

More and tickets here! Hope very much to see you there.

Above images: Paolo Vincenzo Bonomini, Cycle of Scenes of Living Skeletons, early 19th century. Painted for the Church of Santa Grata Inter Vites, Bergamo, Italy, for the Triduum of the dead. More in Death: A Graveside Companion, which can be preordered here.