Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anatomical Venuses at Mildred's Lane: Lecture this Saturday, August 2

For any those in the vicinity of rural New York/Pennsylvania: I am beyond honored to be giving a talk this Saturday night as part of "Social Saturdays" at the fabulous Mildred's Lane, founded by amazing artists J Morgan Puett and Mark Dion. The lecture will be held at The Mildred Complex(ity) project space, in the DVAA building at 37 Main Street, Narrowsburg, NY.

Talk description follows, and tickets--which include "a delicious locally sourced meal prepared by a guest chef" as well as the lecture--can be purchased here.

Hope to see you there!
Morbid Anatomy with Joanna Ebenstein
August 2, 2014
Tour – 5:00 p.m.
Cocktails – 6:00pm
Presentation – 6:30pm
Dinner – 8:00 p.m.

Clemente Susini’s "Anatomical Venus" is a life sized, dissectible wax anatomical woman with real human hair still entombed in her original rosewood and Venetian glass case created in Florence, Italy around 1790. It—or, better she—was conceived of as a means to teach human anatomy without need for constant dissection of real human cadavers, which was messy, ethically fraught, and prone to quick decay. The Venus also tacitly communicated the relationship between the human body and a divinely created cosmos, between art and science, between nature and mankind as understood by Natural Philosophy, the science of its day.

How could a creature so perplexing and peculiar to the modern eye have seemed, at one point, the perfect way to demonstrate anatomical understandings of the body? How could our cultural attitudes have changed to such an extent that she, who once seemed the perfect way of expressing anatomical understanding, now seems bizarre to the contemporary eye? How might these differences help us to better understand the historical moment of her creation as well as our own time? How can we use our own response to these confounding creatures as a way to understand what we might have lost, how we might have changed? This highly illustrated talk will explore those questions.
 Photos of Anatomical Venuses by Joanna Ebenstein

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