Monday, May 30, 2011

Morbid Anatomy Presents at Observatory This Week: The Hyrtl Skull Collection and Victorian Bell Jar Show and Tell!

This Week at Observatory: An artist's investigation into the Mütter Museum's famous Hyrtl Skull Collection! Meditations on the allure and history of the Victorian bell jar featuring a show and tell from an amazing private collection!

Full details follow; hope very much to see you there.

The Hyrtl Simulacrum
An illustrated lecture with artist Jeanne Kelly
Date: Tuesday, May 31
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

The Hyrtl Simulacrum is a multimedia, interactive augmentation to the museum experience that makes curiosity contagious and infects others with a sense of wonder. It uses museum artifacts as the foundation for creative historical fictions. These fictions are discovered through digital forensic facial reconstructions and analog interaction with story machines.

The stories begin with 8 of the 138 human skulls that combine to make up the Hyrtl collection, found in the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Durning the late 1800's Dr. Joseph Hyrtl wrote what he knew about each person directly onto their skulls. The Hyrtl Simulacrum grew from these short stories written directly on bone. A famous Viennese prostitute, a tight-rope walker who died of a broken neck, a child murderer and a Tai bandit are only a few of the very real people chosen from the collection to become characters in this new narrative.

Combining her love of artistic anatomy, conceptual visual narrative, history, science and good story telling, the project has grown to include high-resolution CT scans of the original skulls, vintage photography, a variety of forensic reconstruction techniques, digital painting and image editing, large wooden interactive curiosity cabinets with miniature handmade dioramas inside and much more.

You can catch a preview of The Hyrtl Simulacrum at the Kellen Gallery at 2 West 13th St., where it will be on view through May 23rd.

Jeanne Kelly is an award winning conceptual artist, designer and all around creative. Research as design, scholarship as artistic medium, institutional insertion, collective narratives, public interventions and scripted spaces are the focus of her current work. In the creation of her own work and in collaboration with others, she has utilized everything from welding, painting and wood carving to flash animation, video projection and 3d modeling. Focusing over 20 years experience in the arts, she aims to enhance the current ideas of curation through the augmentation of the museum experience through fine art, interaction and narrative. Jeanne received her BFA in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University and her MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons The New School for Design.

Collector John Whiteknight with a small part of his extensive collection of Victorian glass domes.

Under Glass: A Victorian Obsession
An Illustrated Lecture and Show and Tell with with Glass Parlor Dome Collector John Whiteknight
Date: Thursday, June 2nd
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Part of the Out of the Cabinet: Tales of Strange Objects and the People Who Love Them Series, presented by Morbid Anatomy and Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence Evan Michelson

A smoking monkey dressed as a Marquis, a Wild West scalping scene created in beeswax, a cemetery scene made from the deceased's hair, and stuffed pug dog puppies, all under glass domes!!!!!

The bell jar, or glass parlor dome, is synonymous with our memory of the Victorian Age (1837 - 1901). During the 19th century, these blown glass forms were referred to not as domes but as shades, and graced nearly every parlor, protecting a broad variety of treasures--including miniature tableaux, waxworks, natural history specimens, taxidermy of exotic birds and pets, automatons, and delicate arrangements of hairwork, featherwork, and shellwork--from dust and curious fingers.

Tonight, join parlor dome collector, scholar and author of the upcoming book Under Glass, A Victorian Obsession John Whitenight as he shares treasured objects from his more than 30 years of collecting, traces the art and history of the parlor dome in an illustrated lecture, and muses on the peculiar allure of the glass parlor dome, that extraordinarily thin bubble of glass which is at once barrier and invitation, creating an enchanted world which teases the viewer by saying, “ look at me, study me and enjoy me, but do not touch."

John Whitenight has collected antiques since he was a young boy. Along with his fever for collecting came a thirst for knowledge and a love affair with all things involving the Victorian era. Currently,his private collection consists of over 175 domes from four inches high to well over three feet high. As voracious for information as for new specimens, he has, over the years, become something of a scholar on domes and the various art forms beneath them. Feeling that this is an area that has been grossly overlooked in the study of 19th century decorative arts, Mr. Whitenight has decided it was time to put these wonderfully whimsical and eccentric Victorian concoctions into the spotlight where they belong; to this end, he is hard at work on a lavishly illustrated book on the topic entitled Under Glass, A Victorian Obsession.

You can find out more about these events on the Observatory website by clicking here; you can access these events on Facebook here. You can get directions to Observatory--which is next door to the Morbid Anatomy Library (more on that here)--by clicking here. You can find out more about Observatory here, join our mailing list by clicking here, and join us on Facebook by clicking here.

1 comment:

Doomer said...

I loved this page!!!!!