Friday, October 31, 2008

Call for Artists from San Francisco's Paxton Gate!

Thought some of you readers out there might be interested in this email that just popped into my inbox. Paxton's Gate--a shop in the San Francisco Mission District specializing in such delights as custom and novelty taxidermy, exotic naturalia, books on anatomy and natural history, reproduction Victorian games and amusements, bell jars, laboratory glass, and articulated skeletons--is seeking artists to produce work for their new "Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids" shop. Check out their website here to get a better sense of what they're all about; call for work (and employees) below:

Paxton Gate is opening a children's store and is looking for artists. If you or someone you know produces art that you believe is appropriate for what you image our kids' store will be like please request an art submission handout. Wehaven't decided on any particular aesthetic as far as artwork is concerned so we are excited to see what people come up with!

Also just a reminder:

PAXTON GATE's Menacingly Morbid Macabre* Museum of Unnatural Wonders

This Halloween to introduce our new children's store - Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids - we have created a Museum of Unnatural Wonders; a shuddersome museum in which children will enjoy exploring and interacting with spine-tingling displays of the natural sciences including botany, biology, zoology and much more!

Children 10 and under, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Children will be grouped by age and the scariness-level will be set accordingly.

* Additionally: Disturbing, Dreadful, Ghoulish, Monstrous, Abominable, Beastly, Vile, Grisly, Gruesome, Loathsome, Detestable, Hideous, Eerie, Deplorable, Creepy, Grim, Lurid, Ugly, Horrid, Repugnant, Abhorrent, Ghastly, Nightmarish, Direful, Awful and Itchy?

We will also be looking for P/T Salespeople for the new location. If you have experience with children and/or retail settings please request a handout regarding the position. You may request them in the store or via email:

Image from Kozyndan's Flick page.

Happy Halloween!!!

Images found on the Flickr's Vintage Halloween photo-pool, in the collection of "riptheskull."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Goth Panel Discussion at FIT, Thursday October 30
As part of the programming for the Fashion Institute of Technology's current exhibition Gothic: Dark Glamour, the institute is hosting a variety of events to elucidate the slippery subject that is "goth." This Thursday, October 30th, the event du jour will be a panel discussion on goth featuring Morbid Anatomy contributer and co-owner of Obscura Antiques and Oddities Evan Michelson, whose 1870s mourning dress you see pictured above, and Fred Berger, creator of the now defunct Propaganda Magazine.

Hope to see you there!

More details, from the website:

Panel Discussion
Goth Talk
Thursday, October 30, 6-8pm
Katie Murphy Amphitheatre
Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center (D building), 1st floor

Goth subculture has evolved from its post-punk origins to encompass a diverse community from old-school goth to cyber-goth and beyond. Join panelists Fred Berger, photographer and creator of Propaganda magazine; Julia Bloodgood Borden, cultural anthropologist and Morbid Outlook magazine staff writer; Angel Butts, lecturer and PhD candidate; Myke Hideous, artist and musician; and Evan Michelson, owner of Obscura Antiques and Oddities; as they discuss from an insider’s perspective what goth means. Panel moderated by Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator at The Museum at FIT.

To RSVP, call 212-217-4585 or email Visit the website here.

Ivory Anatomical Mannikin (c. 1500-1700)

An ivory mannikin used for instructing medical students on female anatomy, circa 1500-1700. From the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences of The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Via Scribal Terror.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

British Columbia Medical Association Medical Museum Collection Online!

The British Columbia Medical Association Medical Museum has just launched a lovely online gallery showcasing its collection of the objects, artifacts, instruments and ephemera. The photography is excellent, details--visual and textual--are available for each item, and the page is beautifully designed. You can check it out the website for yourself here.

All images drawn from the gallery.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Abandoned Russian Brain Research Laboratory Photo Gallery

I just discovered an amazing collection of images, ostensibly taken at an abandoned Russian brain research laboratory. The above images are just a few of the many found in the gallery; view the entire collection of images here.

From the website, found via a blog called Holding Tide.


Salina thought of a medicine recently discovered in the United States of America which could prevent suffering even during the most serious operations and produce serenity amid disaster. "Morphia" was the name given to this crude substitute for the stoicism of the ancients and for Christian fortitude.

This quotation is excerpted from a really lovely book recommended to me by my grandmother called The Leopard: A Novel by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa. The book--originally published in 1958 but with action spanning the mid to late 19th Century--is something of a extended, poetic meditation on death both symbolic and literal; highly recommended.

Image: Morphine, painted by Santiago Rusiñol in 1894. More on Rusiñol and his relationship to morphine here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Proteus Gowanus and Morbid Anatomy Library Opening, Friday October 17th

Tomorrow night (Friday, October 17th) Proteus Gowanus Interdisciplinary Gallery and Reading Room is throwing an opening party for the launch of its new year-longinstallation "Mend," to which I have contributed some stuff and acted as "correspondent."

Also launching that night will be the "Morbid Anatomy Library," (see above) which is basically a collection of books, articles, ephemera, photographs and artifacts I have accumulated around the Morbid Anatomy project. The library will henceforth be open to the public (by appointment only) in a room right off the main gallery.

So, if you live in the New York Metropolitan area, and would like to drink wine surrounded by mangy stuffed squirrels, pathological hands and books, not to mention see some cool art, why not come by? If interested in paying a visit at another time than this opening, please email me at

I should also mention that I would like to organize some Morbid Anatomy events at this space in the future. If any readers have ideas of what kind of events they might like to see or participate in, please let me know here.

Hope to see you there!

Invitation below:

Proteus Gowanus
invites you to the opening reception for the
2008/2009 Interdisciplinary Exhibit


Friday, October 17th
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

“Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.” --Eugene O’Neill

In the spirit of renewal and repair, we launch the 2008/2009 exhibit, MEND, in the new Proteus Gowanus gallery space (same building, further down the alley).
At a time when “fixing things,” from the mundane to the profound, seems increasingly out of our reach, we will explore MEND through art, artifacts, objects, books, and related programs, encompassing a multiplicity of perspectives and disciplines, from mending a piece of fabric to solving global problems.

We introduce an expanded Proteus Gowanus Reading Room in the space adjacent to the gallery, including five ongoing archival projects: joining Anonima, Reanimation Library and the Museum of Matches are Blue Fire, an installation by Wendy Walker; the Hall of the Gowanus; and Joanna Ebenstein’s Morbid Anatomy Library.

The Mend exhibit and programs is co-curated by PG Founder/Creative Director Sasha Chavchavadze and our new PG Director Tammy Pittman.

Mend Correspondents are: Joanna Ebenstein, Janice Everett, Lydia Matthews, Herbert Pfostl and Martin Skoble.

Mend Contributors are: Ellen Banks-Feld, Jenny Bevill, Jen Bervin, Stephanie Broder-Lederman, Rosamond Casey, Sasha Chavchavadze, Libby Clarke, Ellen Driscoll, Laure Drogoul, Joanna Ebenstein, Janice Everett, Charles Goldman, Paula Hayes, Soph Herbert, Jeanne Liotta, Susan Newmark, Jim Nightlinger, Debra Pearlman, Pam Peterson, Herbert Pfostl, Chris Piazza, Tamara Pittman, Karla Roberts, Alan Rosner, Esther K. Smith, Andrea Spiros, Lance Rutledge, Naftali Beane Rutter, Sally Mara Sturman, Annette Taconnelli, Robert The, Wendy Walker, James Walsh, Matthew Wills, The Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives.

Check our workshop/events page in the coming weeks for a schedule of programs related to MEND.

Look forward to seeing you!

Proteus Gowanus
543 Union Street @ Nevins Street Gate
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Cow Poxed, Ox Faced Boy," 19th Century

I found this on a very nice website called "Medical Humanities Blog," which appears to have sourced it from the Wellcome Images Collection. The image was used as an illustration for a very interesting piece on the blog called "Imaging the Medical Humanities: Infection"; see the whole article here.

Image details: Cow Poxed, Ox Faced Boy - illustration to "Cow-Pox Inoculation No Security Against Small-Pox Infection" by W. Rowley. Coloured etching early 19th century.

Found via Wonders and Marvels.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anatomical Maps, A Visual History

A website called Design Boom has done a nice, miniature visual history of anatomical maps, from medival times to the present. Most notable is its inclusion of eastern examples, an under-discussed branch of anatomical illustration in general.

Check out the whole article, and read about the above images, here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Yearly Bath of Lenin's Embalmed Body

For some very disturbing viewing: check out Charonboat's online photo show of Lenin's preserved corpse being given its yearly bath in the Moscow Mausoleum which has publicly housed it since 1924. Apparently, the formula for the bath is a mixture of formaldehyde, methanol and ethanol. Note: Not pretty.

Thanks, Kriszta, for alerting me to this.

Alex Kanevsky, 21st Century

I just discovered the beautiful work of artist Alex Kanevsky via a pretty great website called Ru_Medart. These portrait studies with a skeletal focus are particularly lovely, but all of his work is pretty wonderful; If you like what you see, treat yourself to a visit to his "progress of paintings" web exhibit. Amazing and ghostlike.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cesare Lombroso and Italian Anatomical Museums

Check out this great post about 19th Century criminologist and physiognomist Cesare Lombroso and his connection to anatomical museums housing collections of criminal brains on the Mind Hacks website. The piece was inspired by an article in Nature Magazine and gives a great history of the man and his ideas, with wonderful links.

The article that inspired the write-up is, essentially, a review of the newly reopened "Museum of Human Anatomy at the University of Turin," or "Museo di Anatomia Umana 'Luigo Rolando'." The museum sounds amazing--it has just reopened after a long renovation designed to recreate a the feel of the original museum, established in 1739 and opened to the public in 1830 and has on display, among other things, preserved brains, a collection of 19th century brain models, skulls, paintings of famous anatomists, embryological models, and death masks of the lofty and depraved. It also features a stained glass window from 1897 depicting brain slices prepared by a former university head and neuroanatomist (that's his skeleton you see above!) Carlo Giacomini. The article is really fascinating and engagingly written, peppered with almost unbelievable historical fact. Download the article, by Alison Abbot and called "Hidden Treasures: Turin's Anatomy Museum," here.

Top photo: from the article. Caption reads "closest genius: Giacomini's skeleton and unusually shaped brain." Bottom: Cesare Lombroso's "L' Homme Criminel: Revolutionnaires et Criminels Politiques..."

Thanks, Lance, for bringing this to my attention!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"'Death and Life Contrasted'... or 'An Essay on Man,'" (Undated: 1750-1770?)

A nice modern-age Memento Mori: "'Death and Life Contrasted'... or 'An Essay on Man,'" printed by Bowles & Carver (undated: 1750-1770?). Found on BibliOdessey, one of my favorite very favorite websites.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Natural Dialogues: Art, Science, and Material Objects Graduate Student Symposium, Call for Papers

I just read on the Corporeality website about a really interesting looking symposium to be held at the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut called "Natural Dialogues: Art, Science, and Material Objects." The call for papers is open until October 14th, and the conference will take place February 21, 2009.

Just a few possible areas of possible inquiry, suggested by the symposium organizers:
• networks of artists and scientists
• artist/scientist collaborations
• art and the natura world
• the philosophical concept of the sublime
• science museum displays
• scientific illustration

For a complete list of suggested topics and further information, check out the Corporeality website.

Image: Gautier d'Agoty, from the book Myologie complette en couleur et grandeur naturelle : composee de l'Essai et de la Suite de l'Essai d'anatomie, en tableaux imprimes; ouvrage unique, utile et necessaire aux etudians & amateurs de cette science, 1746.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cross-Section of the Human Head Anatomical Plate, 1920s

Really lovely anatomical head from the 1920s, found here.