Thursday, October 20, 2016

Morbid Anatomy is Coming to Los Angeles with a Symposium, Temple Tour, and Anatomical Venus Book Event

We are delighted to announce our first ever California popup, taking place in Los Angeles this October 29th and 30th! It will consist of a day long symposium at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, a tour of the Templo Mayor de la Santa Muerte with its High Priestess, and a free book event for our new book The Anatomical Venus, also at La Luz de Jesus!

Full schedule below. Hope to see you at one or more of these great events!

Saturday, October 29th
12-6 pm
Day Long Symposium at La Luz de Jesus; Tickets and more can be found here.

12.00 Tracy Hurley Martin: Introductory remarks
12.15 Richard Faulk: Witches, Weavers, Pimps, and Whores: Curse Tablets and the Rarely Seen Working Class in Ancient Rome
12.45 Megan Rosenbloom: Anthropodermic Bibliopegy: Books Bound in Human Skin
1.15 Elizabeth Harper: The Miraculous Relics of "Uncle Vincent"
1.45 Joanna Ebenstein: The Morbid Anatomy Museum
2.15 Stephen Vesesky: Kraftwerk: Sex, Lies and Audiotape
2.45 Tonya Hurley & Tracy Hurley Martin: Solo-Me-O
3.15 - Break
3.45 Louis Sahagun: Master of Mysteries: The Life and Death of Manly Palmer Hall
4.15 Daniel Paul: Dr. Jaggers, Miss Velma, the Universal World Church, and Christmas
5.00 Ronni Thomas: Screening of The Man Who Married Kitten: Documentary on the Victorian Taxidermist Walter Potter
5.30 Tomas Prower: The Cult of Santa Muerte

Sunday, October 30
1:00 PM
Tour of the Templo Mayor de la Santa Muerte with High Priestess and Tomas Prower
Templo Mayor de la Santa Muerte (7602 Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park, CA 90255)
Tickets and more here.

Tour of Los Angeles' Templo Mayor de la Santa Muerte with the temple's high priestess and Tomas Prower, author of the book La Santa Muerte: Unearthing the Magic and Mysticism of Death. Attendees will get a tour of the temple, and have an opportunity learn all about Santa Muerte--literally "saint" or "holy" death, a female manifestation of death whose devotion originated in Mexico but has spread throughout the diaspora.

Sunday, October 30

4:00 PM
The Anatomical Venus Book Event
La Luz de Jesus
FREE and non-ticketed (just show up)

Join us to celebrate the new Morbid Anatomy book The Anatomical Venus: Wax, God, Death and The Ecstatic with its author, The Morbid Anatomy Museum's co-founder and creative director Joanna Ebenstein. The book was the product of ten years of research, image collection and photography.

Learn all about the fascinating life and afterlives of The Anatomical Venus -- a life-sized dissectible wax woman with Venetian glass eyes, real human hair and strings of pearls created in late eighteenth-century Florence as the centerpiece of the first truly public science museum. Once seen as an ideal way to entice a general public into the study of human anatomy, today, she also confounds, troubling our neat categorical divides between life and death, body and soul, effigy and pedagogy, entertainment and education, kitsch and art.

Post Mortem Portraiture at the American Folk Art Museum and Related Events

 The Farwell Children, Deacon Robert Peckham (1785-1877), Fitchburg, Massachusetts, c. 1841. Oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 40 1/2″; 62 1/2 x 48″ (framed). Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York. Gift of Raph Esmerian, 2005.8.11. Photo © 2000 John Bigelow Taylor.
Following is a guest post from our friends at The American Folk Art Museum about some exciting events related to their wonderful new exhibition on post-mortem portraiture. One of the events--a symposium entitled How We Remember: Death in American Art and Culture, taking place on January 28--will be moderated by Morbid Anatomy's creator Joanna Ebenstein.
Securing the Shadow: Posthumous Portraiture in America, on view at the American Folk Art Museum through February 26, 2017, is a contemplation of American self-taught portraiture through the lens of memory and loss. Curated by Stacy C. Hollander, the exhibition traces the derivation of posthumous portraiture from literal shadows traced on a wall to the metaphorical shadow secured by the photographer through postmortem daguerreotypes.

During the run of the exhibition, several public programs have been organized to reflect the scope of cultural expressions of death in the United States. These include a concert by Eli Smith, the Four O’Clock Flowers, and Mamie Minch exploring death and mourning in American folk music; a screening of Elizabeth Westrate’s 2004 documentary, A Family Undertaking, which explores the home burial movement; and a discussion with authors Meghan O’Rourke and Deborah Landau about the process of writing about grief and loss. Hands-on workshops are also part of the line-up, including a Day of the Dead papel picado demonstration and a mourning jewelry workshop.

The culmination of these programs will be How We Remember: Death in American Art and Culture, a half-day symposium in which scholars and artists come together to examine the iconography and symbolism of death in America. Participants include curator Stacy C. Hollander; Gary M. Laderman, author of The Sacred Remains: American Attitudes Toward Death, 1799-1883; Dr. Stanley B. Burns, historian, collector, and author; Jessica Regan, assistant curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute; Kate Sweeney, author of American Afterlife; and Joyce Burstein, creator of the epitaph project. Morbid Anatomy Museum’s cofounder and creative director, Joanna Ebenstein, will moderate the symposium. 

Morbid Anatomy Members are invited to purchase public program tickets at the American Folk Art Museum’s membership price during the run of the Securing the Shadow exhibition.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Anatomical Tattoo Call for Works

Do you have an anatomical themed tattoo, or do you create your own? If so, might you be interested in being part of a new book? In that case, please read the call for submissions below from our artist and anatomist Emily Evans; she can be contacted at contact [at] anatomyboutiquebooks [dot] com.
We are looking for examples of anatomy related tattoos to include in our latest publication.

If you are an artist who has created an anatomical tattoo and would like to see your work published or if you have an anatomical tattoo yourself, we would love to hear from you!

• Skull and Skeleton
• Muscles
• Human hearts
• Organs
• Cyber anatomy
• Torn / sutured
Also, if you are based in the UK and interested in getting an anatomical tattoo for free or reduced rate for use as a possible cover image, send an email to the same address, contact [at] anatomyboutiquebooks [dot] com.

Monday, October 10, 2016

NEW EXHIBITION: Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Visions of the Afterlife in the Catholic Tradition

Shrine to the Souls in Purgatory, Basilica of Saints Justus and Pastor, Barcelona, 19th century, Photo by Joanna Ebenstein, 2013
EXHIBITION: Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Visions of the Afterlife in the Catholic Tradition
April 20 – June 30, 2018
Opening Party: Friday April 26 (more below, tickets here)
Featuring paintings, prints, sculpture and material culture from the 17th century to the present, including artworks by Mark Dion, Phyllis Galembo, José Guadalupe Posada, Jacques Callot, Shannon Taggart and from the collections of Stephen Romano Gallery, Evan Michelson, Eva Aridjis and Eye's Gallery and much more! 

In the Catholic worldview, when the body dies, the soul of the deceased is sent to a location in the afterlife to await the final judgment, at which point it will be reunited with the resurrected body. The souls of the unrepentant who have perpetrated the gravest sins are sent to hell, while the most stainless—saints who were martyred for their faith—are delivered straight to heaven. The majority of people, however, are sent to a place called purgatory. In this liminal space—a sort of temporary hell—souls are purged of their sins until they have attained the purity necessary to enter heaven and reside with God.

The idea of purgatory is a contentious one. Originally developed in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, it rose to popularity in the fourteenth century in response to the mass deaths wrought by the Black Plague. Disagreements about purgatory contributed directly to the birth of Protestantism. One of Martin Luther’s major points of contention in his Ninety-Five Theses of 1517 was the Church’s use of indulgences—papal grants promising to shorten or cancel a person’s time in purgatory. Once sold as ubiquitously as lottery tickets, profits were used to fund various projects including the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Since that time, the popularity of purgatory has gone in and out of fashion. Today, it is visible only in rare bastions of belief, such as Naples, Italy, and parts of Latin America. The concepts of heaven and hell, however, continue to thrive in the Catholic ethos.

This exhibition explores Catholic visions of heaven, hell, and purgatory —via art, artifacts, and material culture drawn from The Green-Wood Historic Fund Collections and the greater Morbid Anatomy community—, tracing how they have manifested in various places and shifted and changed over time.

“Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory: Visions of the Afterlife in the Catholic Tradition” and the Morbid Anatomy Library are free and open to the public at the Fort Hamilton Gatehouse on Saturdays and Sundays, 12 –5 PM, from April 20 to June 30. To visit outside of these hours, email

The Gatehouse is located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Micieli Place, easily accessible on the F and G trains at Fort Hamilton Station. The exhibition and library space are not handicap accessible. Click here for our inclement weather policy.

Friday, April 26, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Tickets here

Join us for a special after-hours garden party to celebrate the return of spring and the opening of Morbid Anatomy’s new exhibition, Envisioning the Afterlife: Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory.

Enjoy music curated by Friese Undine and complimentary refreshments while taking in the enchanting atmosphere. There will also be a special tour of the newly curated Morbid Anatomy Library by its creators, Joanna Ebenstein and Laetitia Barbier, as well as an opportunity to meet the artists, collectors, and contributors to the exhibition.

PLEASE NOTE: This event takes place at the Fort Hamilton Gatehouse NOT the main entrance of Green-Wood. The Gatehouse is located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Micieli Place, easily accessible on the F and G trains at Fort Hamilton Station. The exhibition and library space are not handicapped accessible.

Tickets are $15 / $10 for members of Green-Wood and the Morbid Anatomy Patreon.