Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Special Private Tour of Ryan Matthew Cohn's Home Museum: Morbid Anatomy Museum Kickstarter Award!


Huge thanks also to all of those who have already donated to our Morbid Anatomy Museum Kickstarter campaign! The campaign ends in less than 3 days; we hope if you have not yet donated you will consider doing so!

One of the most spectacular awards of this Kickstarter is a private tour of the home museum of star of TV's Oddites Ryan Matthew Cohn. Following is a guest post by Morbid Anatomy Library Head Librarian Laetitia Barbier about this collection; You can donate--and secure your own private tour of Ryan's incredible (pictured above!) home for a $1,000 bid!--by clicking here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1038582734/the-morbid-anatomy-museum. You can learn more about this amazing collection in the video above (or click here) by Morbid Anatomy Filmmaker in Residence Ronni Thomas.
Only 2 days left to support our Kickstarter Campaign and seize the opportunity to visit one of New York’s most spectacular private collections: that of Ryan Matthew Cohn, antique dealer and artist who established in his Brooklyn home a secretive sanctuary celebrating Death in a myriad of relics. Medical specimens, taxidermy and tribal arts, this carefully curated environment is like a Huysmans-ian fantasy. Building himself an intimate version of the Pitt River Museum and the Mutter Museum reunited, Ryan is one of the few people who can have breakfast in his living room, silently observed by shrunken heads and more than a hundred human craniums. This Secret Museum is of course not open to the public and only his personal friends get to enjoy this unique and profoundly eccentric habitat.

As a faithful friend to our organization, Ryan has kindly agreed to donate a guided tour of his home museum for our Kickstarter Campaign. It might be the only chance you even get to see this collection that everybody talks about but very few have seen! Every objects in this vast collection has a peculiar history and Ryan, an enchanting storyteller, will tell you all! 
 Photos from Collector's Weekly via Boing Boing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Henry Morton Stanley’s Human Tooth Necklace: Guest Post by Kristin Hussey, Hunterian Museum, London

Kristin Hussey--Assistant Curator of the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons with responsibility for the Odontological Collection--has kindly agreed to write a series of guest posts for Morbid Anatomy about some of the most curious objects in her collection.

The fifth post from that series follows; you can view all posts in this series by clicking here.
Henry Morton Stanley’s human tooth necklace and his infamous last African Expedition (1886-1889)
Of all the museum objects related to teeth, human tooth necklaces hold an enduring fascination. The Odontological Collection contains one such necklace associated with one of the most infamous colonial explorers, Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904). Stanley was a Welsh-born journalist who is remembered as a controversial figure for his expedition to find Scottish explorer David Livingstone and his role in the exploitation of the Congo, on behalf of King Leopold II of Belgium. In 1886, Stanley set out on what was to be his last African expedition from which he returned with the human tooth necklace and the idea for his book In Darkest Africa.

The Emin Pasha Relief Expedition was organised in 1886 with Stanley at its head to rescue Eduard Schnitzer (known as Emin Pasha), the Governor of the Egyptian Province of Equatoria who was thought to be trapped by the Mahdist uprising. The trip took three years and was met by constant set back and controversy. While Stanley travelled ahead with the ‘Advance Column’ (Figure 1), a large proportion of the expedition was left behind to form a part of the ‘Rear Column’ which dissolved into violence, desertion and illness. Emin Pasha was eventually located and reluctantly brought to the East Coast city of Bagamoyo in 1889. Inspired by his journey, Stanley wrote In Darkest Africa (1890). Upon his return to England, Stanley and the surviving members of the Expedition initially received acclaim, although they later faced criticism for the numbers of deaths incurred by the party.

This necklace, composed of 34 human teeth held by braided fibres, was donated to the Museum of the Odontological Society in November 1890 by R.H. Woodhouse accompanied by a letter from Stanley himself. Stanley reported that the necklace was taken from a fallen warrior after a fight between his party and a tribe on the Ituri River. The necklace was brought back to England as evidence of the cannibal tribes Stanley claimed to have encountered on his expeditions into the Congo. In their discussions, the members of the Odontological Society were particularly interested in the prevalence of caries, or tooth decay, in the teeth of the necklace. Tooth decay was thought at the time to be a disease of what they referred to as the ‘civilised world’ due to its association with sugar. The President noted in the Transactions of the Society that such human tooth necklaces were commonly known to be worn as trophies. The teeth for this necklace were reportedly obtained by burning the skulls of vanquished enemies.

Many museum collections contain human tooth necklaces brought back by colonial explorers who used them as evidence of cannibalistic practices amongst the tribes they encountered. Although certain indigenous groups in this region and elsewhere in the world such as the South Pacific performed cannibalistic rituals, the connection with tooth necklaces is not as clear. The cultural meanings of human tooth necklaces are complex. Some scholars consider them to be prestige items in which power from slain enemies or ancestors is passed to the wearer. Human and animal teeth have been used in cultures around the world in personal ornamentation to indicate status, wealth or for medical purposes such as charms to ward off tooth-ache.

Images:
  1. H.M. Stanley and the officers of the Advance Column, Cairo, 1890. Wikicommons
  2. Necklace of human teeth brought back from the Congo region by H.M. Stanley, RCSOM/M 4.2. Copyright the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons
  3. Meeting the Rear Column at Banalya, In Darkest Africa (1890) Wikicommons.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Anthology Launch, Library Closing, Kickstarter Update and Curious Congress: Morbid Anatomy News for the Week

Thanks so much to all those who came out to Saturday night's Morbid Anatomy Anthology book launch and Museum soft opening! It was--thanks in no small part to our sponsor Hendrick's Gin--a great success and a ton of fun; you can see a few photos from the event above--and many more by clicking here--compliments of our friend Joel Schlemowitz.

Also, very big thanks also to all of those who have donated to our Morbid Anatomy Museum Kickstarter campaign! We have, at this point, just surpassed our 60K goal (!!!); If you have not yet donated--or would like to up your pledge!--we implore you to do so, as the more money we earn, more well-realized space we can build for all of us, and the more epic, Anatomical Venus cake bedecked parties we can host! To donate now, click here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1038582734/the-morbid-anatomy-museum. And, if have yet to purchase a copy of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology, a $25 donation to this Kickstarter (add $10 for international orders) will get you a copy of the book in the cheapest way possible. And, of course, you'll also be supporting an excellent cause at the same time!

Also, if you are free this evening, hope to see you at the inaugural night of the Congress for Curious Peoples lecture series at Coney Island USA, wherein Morbid Anatomy Museum board member Evan Michelson will elucidate us on the uncanny beauty of industrial wax mannequins. You can find out more on that here; A full schedule of the entire Congress can be found here.

And one more news alert: I am sad to say that The Morbid Anatomy Library will be closed until we move it into the new space; we expect it to reopen there in bigger and better form late May or early June. Stay tuned for more on that!

Thanks again to all of your for your support, and can't wait to see you at the new space!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Morbid Anatomy Library Closed This Saturday, April 26

Greetings all.

Just an announcement that the Morbid Anatomy Library will not be open this Saturday, April 26

Apologies for the inconvenience!

The Morbid Anatomy Anthology and Release Party, Saturday April 26

The Morbid Anatomy Anthology has arrived! Supporters of our previous Kickstarter--and those who pre-ordered the book--will be receiving copies in the days and weeks to come. The cheapest way to order a copy today is via the Morbid Anatomy Museum Kickstarter campaign; a $25 donation gets you a free book with shipping included (add $10 for international orders) at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1038582734/the-morbid-anatomy-museum. And of course, you'll also be supporting an excellent cause!

Also this Saturday, April 26, hope to see you at a very special "Morbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release Party, the first event at the new Morbid Anatomy Museum space. Copies of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology will be available for sale, many of the authors will be on hand to sign them, and there will be complementary Hendrick's gin cocktails and music compliments of our own Friese Undine as well as an Anatomical Venus cake. Full details follow; hope very much to see you there!

"Morbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release PartyMorbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release Party Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and with cocktails and music by Friese Undine
Date:  Saturday, April 26

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: Free
Location: The Morbid Anatomy Museum (424A Third Ave, Brooklyn)
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
** Copies of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology will be available for sale and signing
Please join us for a night of drinks, music and books to celebrate the release of "The Morbid Anatomy Anthology," a 500 page, lavishly illustrated, hardbound and full-color book featuring 28 essays based on some of the most memorable lectures hosted by Morbid Anatomy since 2008. Many of the authors will be on hand to raise a glass with you and sign your copy of the book!
Included in the book are essays by Evan Michelson (star of Science Channel’s hit show "Oddities") featuring never before published photographs of the catacombs of Palermo; Simon Chaplin (head of the Wellcome Library) on public displays of corpses in Georgian England, Caitlin Doughty of the popular Ask a Mortician web series on demonic children and the witch trials of Europe, and Paul Koudounaris (author of Empire of Death) on a truck stop populated with human skulls. In addition are pieces on books bound in human skin, fin de siècle death-themed Parisian cafes, post-mortem photography, eroticized anatomical wax models, taxidermied humans and other animals, Santa Muerte, “artist of death” Frederik Ruysch, and much more.
Table of Contents:



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Animal and Human Minds! Anthology Release Party! Congress for Curious Peoples! The Body Anatomized! Upcoming Morbid Anatomy Events in New York City

Where to begin on our list of upcoming events! Tonight (Tuesday, April 22) we have Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence Dr Richard Barnett's The Beast in the Mirror , an illustrated lecture on 19th century ideas of animal and human minds; this will be our very last talk in our old space, and Dr Barnett's last for Morbid Anatomy, so we hope very much to see you there!

Also this week--Saturday, April 26--is a very special "Morbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release Party, which will be the first event at the new Morbid Anatomy Museum. Copies of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology (seen above!) will be available for sale, many of the authors will be on hand to sign them, and there will be Hendrick's gin cocktails and music will compliments of our own Friese Undine as well as an Anatomical Venus cake. Hope very much to see you there!

This week also marks the launch of The Congress for Curious People, a ten day series of lectures and performances culminating in a two day symposium, all of which explore curiosity and curiosities broadly considered; this event is produced in tandem with--and takes place at--Coney Island USA  from April 25th - May 4th; you can find a full schedule here.

We also have a number of newly announced events, including Existential Mathematics with Laurent Derobert (Friday, May 9); Morbid Ingenuity: American Autodecapitants with Robert Damon Schneck (Thursday, May 22); Brontë Relics with Professor Deborah Lutz (Thursday, May 15); Jewelry of the Damned: Amuletic Protection and Apotropaic Magic with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Thursday, May 29); and a brand new 8-week art-history and studio art class The Body Anatomized with SVA's Jonathon Rosen (Mondays June 2 to July 21).


Full list and more information on all events can be found here. Hope to see you at one or more of these terrific events!
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The Beast in the Mirror: Illustrated lecture with Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett, Engagement Fellow at the Wellcome Trust
Sponsored by Hendrick's Gin
Date: Tuesday, April 22
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: Observatory (543 Union Street at Nevin, Brooklyn; enter via Proteus Gowanus Gallery
In the early twenty-first century neuroscientists and psychologists are looking again at the relationship between animal and human minds. This is a line of inquiry with deep roots in Western science, and some remarkably eccentric predecessors. In Mind in the Lower Animals in Health and Disease, published in 1879, the Scottish mad-doctor William Lauder Lindsay abandoned his human lunatics and turned to the animal kingdom. Lindsay ranged across continents and centuries, pillaging writers from Pliny to Darwin and ushering his readers into a dark world of ape neurosis and snake psychosis, suicidal scorpions and deranged, Prufockian lemmings. In this talk, Morbid Anatomy Museum Visiting Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett will grab Lindsay’s work by its provocatively twitching tail, and use it to uncover the hidden history of animal minds in Victorian life science. Taking the dog for a walk will never be the same.
More here.
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Congress for Curious People with Coney Island USA
A ten day series of lectures and performances culminating in a two day symposium, all of which explore curiosity and curiosities broadly considered
Dates: April 25th - May 4th
Buy tickets here
*** Offsite at Coney Island USA
Morbid Anatomy is thrilled to announce, in conjunction with Coney Island USA, the 2014 "Congress for Curious People"--a ten day series of lectures and performances culminating in a two day symposium, all of which explore curiosity and curiosities broadly considered. This year's Congress takes "simulation" as its theme, and will feature many of our all-time favorite international scholars, artists, performers and thinkers, including Evan Michelson, Edgar Oliver, Les the Mentalist, Shannon Taggart, Biran Catling, Anthony Matt, Zoe Beloff, John Troyer, Mat Fraser, Salvador Olguin, Amy Herzog, Jennifer Miller, Betsy Bradley, Ronni Thomas and Chris Muller.

More here.
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Morbid Anatomy Anthology" Book Release Party
brooklyn-brewery-logo-gold Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and Hendrick's and with cocktails and music by Friese Undine
Date: NEW DATE: Saturday, April 26
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: Free
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
** Copies of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology will be available for sale and signing

Please join us for a night of drinks, music and books to celebrate the release of "The Morbid Anatomy Anthology," a 500 page, lavishly illustrated, hardbound and full-color book featuring 28 essays based on some of the most memorable lectures hosted by Morbid Anatomy since 2008. Included in the book are essays by Evan Michelson (star of Science Channel’s hit show "Oddities") featuring never before published photographs of the catacombs of Palermo; Simon Chaplin (head of the Wellcome Library) on public displays of corpses in Georgian England, Caitlin Doughty of the popular Ask a Mortician web series on demonic children and the witch trials of Europe, and Paul Koudounaris (author of Empire of Death) on a truck stop populated with human skulls. In addition are pieces on books bound in human skin, fin de siècle death-themed Parisian cafes, post-mortem photography, eroticized anatomical wax models, taxidermied humans and other animals, Santa Muerte, “artist of death” Frederik Ruysch, and much more. Many of the authors will be on hand to raise a glass with you and sign your copy of the book!

More here.
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Art and Anatomy: Preserving and Exhibiting the Human Body Illustrated lecture with Dr Corinna Wagner, University of Exeter
Date: Monday, May 5
Time: 8:00 PMAdmission: $8
Location: *** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
In this illustrated talk, Dr Corinna Wagner will investigate collaborations between artists and anatomists, from the late eighteenth century to the present day. We will look at the ways artists and anatomists shared a belief that by understanding the body’s interior, we may more fully understanding what it means to be human. Two medical art forms in particular—wax anatomical models and écorchés (flayed bodies)—inspired debates over such questions as: how might seeing into the body change human identity? How would public access to wax anatomical models and preserved bodies change people’s views about ‘normality’ and ‘abnormality’? Did the spectacle of preserved bodies affect feelings of human compassion, sympathy and communality?
More here.
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Wondrous Tones: In Search of "Nature Music"
Illustrated Lecture with Emily I. Dolan, University of Pennsylvania
Date: Thursday, May 8
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: *** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)

What is nature’s voice? Does it understand harmony? Does it know melody? Can nature sing? During the early nineteenth century, many inventors and acousticians were fascinated by the idea of harnessing natural tones. The idea that music and nature are closely bound is an ancient one that stretches back to the harmony of the spheres. The “nature music” of this period, however, was understood not as silent mathematical proportions, but rather as actual sound: beautiful, ethereal tones that were thought to linger from a prelapsarian time. Musicologist Emily I. Dolan explores the many attempts to organize and control the voice of nature by means of new, and often fantastical, musical instruments.
More here.

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Existential Mathematics
An Illustrated Lecture with Laurent Derobert
Date: Friday, May 9
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Buy tickets here
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
Existential Mathematics are an algebra of feelings. They are at the same time a scientific and an artistic discipline whose purpose is to translate freedom into mathematical language. They generate equations, conjectures, theorems, which express emotions, thoughts and doubts as much they cause them.
Every math teacher insists that algebra is a language, but in Laurent Derobert’s hands it becomes sculpture, art, poetry, philosophy. In this talk Laurent will use mathematics to question our relationship with the world, and to re-conquer unexplored territories of consciousness and human interaction. This is algebra with an avowedly human purpose – reducing the labyrinthine distance that separates us from what we dream ourselves to be.
Laurent Derobert was born in 1974, and works in Paris and Avignon. A doctor of economics and a researcher (CNRS GREQAM), he develops models of existential mathematics.

More here.

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The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry : Workshop with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann; Mother's Day Special
Date: Saturday, May 10
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Admission: $75
***Tickets must be pre-purchased here
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue ( Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue ), 11215 Brooklyn , NY
Hair jewelry was an enormously popular form of commemorative art that began in the late 17th century and reached its zenith during the Victorian Era. Hair, either of someone living or deceased, was encased in metal lockers or woven to enshrine the human relic of a loved one. This class will explore a modern take on the genre.

More here.
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Making Dinosaurs: The Art and Science of Fossil Preparation
Illustrated Lecture by Caitlin Wylie, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Date: Tuesday, May 13
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: *** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
Dinosaur skeletons standing tall and mighty are a familiar sight in museums. But how did they get that way? You probably already know that fossils lie encased in ancient rock until that rock weathers away, leaving them exposed and ready to be spotted by a lucky fossil hunter. But what happens next is rarely written down or shared outside the community of fossil researchers and technicians. This talk goes between the lines of scientific publications and behind the scenes of museum laboratories to investigate the people, practices, and motivations involved in making crumbling, incomplete fossils into both beautiful dinosaur skeletons and elegant theories about past life, evolution, and Earth history.
More here.
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Brontë Relics
An Illustrated Lecture with Professor Deborah Lutz
Date: Thursday, May 15
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Buy tickets here
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
Portable desk boxes, samplers, albums of pressed ferns, printed books with diaries written on their flyleaves, mended stockings and locks of hair that belonged to the Brontës carry traces of their lives: nicked with incident, smoothed by handling, frayed with wearing. These things bring to life the daily, domestic round of the Brontë sisters. The Brontës themselves believed in the ability of material objects to be charged with an almost-enchanted meaning, to be imbued by their possessors.

More here.
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Special Walter Potter Edition - Anthropomorphic Bunny Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman and Katie Innamorato
Date: Sunday May 18th
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Admission: $350
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), Brooklyn, NY
Subway: 4th Av – 9th Street (R – F – G)
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
**Tickets can be purchased by clicking here

Anthropomorphic taxidermy–in which taxidermied animals are posed into human attitudes and poses–was an artform made famous by Victorian taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. In this class, students will learn to create–from start to finish–anthropomorphic bunnies inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Mr. Potter and his ilk. This class will cover all the more advanced techniques used in rabbit taxidermy from start to finish-from proper skinning and fleshing techniques, how to split, turn and position rabbit ears, dry preservation, and the traditional methods of building their own form using wrapped body. Extra special bunny sized Potter themed props will be provided, and instruction on how to create your own props, such as hats and monocles, will be provided. Students will also be provided with materials to make antlers, horns, or tentacles. As always, students are also welcome to bring their own props or accessories if desired.

More here.
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Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night
Hosted by Daisy Tainton

Date: Tuesday, May 20th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $15 (includes one free adult beverage)
Purchase tickets here.
Location: *** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
Are you dying to show off your knowledge of death, diseases and afflictions? Want to meet some like-minded New Yorkers and discuss fun topics like New York's burgeoning measles outbreak? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, we hope you’ll join us for our second Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night!
Play games with historical, anatomical and medical themes. Meet interesting singles with whom you actually have something in common, curiosity-seekers to join you on your next graveyard tour, or simply hang out with the Morbid Anatomy Team and pick our brains!

Read more about last month's iteration on Nerve.com by clicking here.

More here.
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Morbid Ingenuity: American Autodecapitants
Illustrated Lecture with Robert Damon Schneck
Date: Thursday, May 22
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Buy tickets here
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
Does beheading call to mind the grim excesses of state power or contemporary terrorism? Think again. For a small but dedicated group of nineteenth- and twentieth-century suicides the construction of a home-made guillotine offered not only a quick, clean way out, but also a way to test their engineering skills quite literally to the limit, in a culture that celebrated ‘Yankee ingenuity.’ Join Robert Damon Schneck for an evening dedicated to hinged axes, weighted blades, and even – gulp – the odd chainsaw.

More here.
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Jewelry of the Damned: Amuletic Protection and Apotropaic Magic

Illustrated lecture with Ava Forte Vitali, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: Thursday, May 29
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Buy tickets here
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
Part of the Death and The Occult in the Ancient World Series
In the ancient world, everyday objects had all sorts of purposes and meanings; many were believed to be infused with magic, in order to protect the owner from all sorts of dangerous elements. While not readily identifiable by to the modern viewer, the symbols used in Ancient Egypt were part of a visual currency that would have been understood by all levels of society. Interestingly, on many personal objects we find images of demons and dangerous animals, that in another context would be seen as harmful to the owner – what are they doing here, and how are they functioning in relation to these other symbols? This lectures aims to present some of these well-known and lesser known magical symbols – as well as introduce a few of our friendly, neighborhood demon protectors.

More here.
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Anthropomorphic Mouse (One or Two Headed!) Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Date:  Sunday, June 1st
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Offsite*** Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave, Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Admission: $110 (one-headed) / $125 (two-headed)
*** Purchase tickets by clicking here.
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy


In this class, students will learn all the skills required to make--and leave class with their very own--piece of one- or two-headed mouse anthropomorphic taxidermy. Anthropomorphic taxidermy--a practice in which taxidermied animals are posed as if engaged in human activities--was an artform made famous by Victorian taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. In this class, as profiled by the New York Times, students will learn to create--from start to finish--anthropomorphic mice inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Mr. Potter. Your final project might take the form of a bespectacled, whiskey swilling, top hat tipping mouse; or perhaps a rodent mermaid queen of the burlesque world? With some props and some artful styling, your mouse can become whatever or whomever you want; this is the joy of anthropomorphic taxidermy.

More here.

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The Body Anatomized: Art Studio and History Class with SVA's Jonathon Rosen
Dates: Mondays June 2 to July 21 (8 sessions) Admission: $300
Time: 7-10
Tickets: Click here
Class limited to 20 people
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
Temple of the soul or soft machine? The body is where human art, science, culture, politics and medicine all intersect. This hybrid lecture/studio course takes inspiration from artists ancient to post-modern who use medicine and anatomy as a point of departure for personal, political, religious or scientific commentary. Over eight sessions, Jonathon Rosen will explore the influence of traditional medical imagery on contemporary art-making and pop culture through the lens of history, culture and aesthetics. Examples will range from medieval doctor’s sketchbooks and illuminated manuscripts, via Renaissance medical surrealism and 19th century medical devices, to contemporary works by Damien Hirst, John Isaacs, the virtual human project, BodyWorlds, and beyond. On the way we will also touch on aesthetic surgery, genetics, biomechanics, medical museums, anatomy in movies and French underground comics.

More here.
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Anatomical Venuses, Dime Museums, and Waterfront Dives: A Walking Tour from Barnum to the Bowery
Date: Saturday June 7th, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
*** Must pre-order tickets here
Meeting Point: City Hall Park, by the fountain (precise end point TBD)
19th century New York City was a town of varied amusements, from P.T. Barnum’s American Museum to popular anatomical museums to waterfront dives offering such attractions as rat fighting. This 90-minute walking tour will introduce you to a few of these long-vanished diversions, from the dime museums of lower Broadway to the notorious dance halls of the old Five Points to the low-down dives of the Bowery.

More here.
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Two Headed/Anthropomorphic Rat Taxidermy with Divya Anantharaman
Date: Sunday June, 8th
Time: 12 – 6 PM
Offsite*** Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave, Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Admission: $200
*** Purchase tickets by clicking here.

From Victorian curiosity cabinets to Coney Island sideshows, gaff making has held it's place in history, and our hearts. This class will teach students of all levels everything they need to know about proper small mammal taxidermy technique and the details that make a gaff truly convincing--or comical! Students are encouraged to get creative. Having been commissioned to work on natural oddities (like two faced or 'Janus' kittens) and supernatural freaks (conjoined chicken gaff), the instructor will draw upon her experience to help students create memorable mounts.

More here.
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Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton
Date: Saturday, June 14
Time: 1 – 4 PM
Admission: $75
***Must buy ticket here
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
***Offsite*** Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave
Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Today, join former AMNH Senior Insect Preparator Daisy Tainton for Morbid Anatomy’s popular Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop.
Rhinoceros beetles: nature’s tiny giants. Adorable, with their giant heads and tiny legs, and wonderful antler-like protrusions. If you think they would be even more adorable drinking tiny beers and holding tiny fishing poles, we have the perfect class for you! In today’s workshop, students will learn to make–and leave with their own!–shadowbox dioramas featuring carefully positioned beetles doing nearly anything you can imagine.
Xylotrupes gideon beetles will be available, one per student. They measure about 3″ tall when standing vertically.

More here.

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Extraordinary Birds: The Art of Ornithology Lecture and Book Signing
Illustrated lecture with Paul Sweet, Collection Manager in the Department of Ornithology, AMNH
Date: Tuesday, July 22
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
*** Copies of Extraordinary Birds will be available for sale and signing
Tonight, join American Museum of Natural History ornithologist Paul Sweet for a heavily illustrated lecture based on his new book Extraordinary Birds, the second publication in the AMNH’s Natural Histories series. In Extraordinary Birds, Paul traces the history of ornithological illustration from the Renaissance to the 20th century, examining the development of scientific thought, world exploration and printing techniques, and telling the stories of important figures from the history of ornithology.

More here.
Full list and more information on all events can be found here. More on the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy can be found here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Morbid Anatomy Anthology Shipping Party Seeks Volunteers!

Morbid Anatomy supporters, we need your help! Tomorrow--Tuesday April 22--we are attempting to finish our Herculean task of packaging and shipping 1,600 copies of our The Morbid Anatomy Anthology in Park Slope, Brooklyn. If any of you kind readers are available to help us stuff envelopes and make trips to the post office, please contact us erica@morbidanatomymuseum.org. We will show our appreciation via a free copy of the book, pizza and lots of good will!

Announcing the 2014 "Congress for Curious People," in Conjunction with Coney Island USA, April 25th - May 4th

Morbid Anatomy is thrilled to announce, in conjunction with Coney Island USA, the 2014 "Congress for Curious People"--a ten day series of lectures and performances culminating in a two day symposium, all of which explore curiosity and curiosities broadly considered. This year's Congress takes "simulation" as its theme, and will feature many of our all-time favorite international scholars, artists, performers and thinkers, including Evan Michelson, Edgar Oliver, Les the Mentalist, Shannon Taggart, Biran Catling, Anthony Matt, Zoe Beloff, John Troyer, Mat Fraser, Salvador Olguin, Amy Herzog, Jennifer Miller, Betsy Bradley, Ronni Thomas and Chris Muller.

The full schedule for the Congress for Curious Peoples follows. You can find out more about all events--and purchase tickets!--by clicking here. All events take place at Coney Island USA in Brooklyn, New York and are supported by The British Council and a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities. Hope very much to see you there!
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Opening Party

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 8:00pm
More here.
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Alumni Weekend
Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 1:00pm - Sunday, April 27, 2014 - 7:00pm
More here.
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Industrial Ladies - A lecture by Evan Michelson
Monday, April 28, 2014 - 7:30pm
More here.
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Desire and the Sea - A performance by Edgar Oliver
Monday, April 28 at 9:00pm
More here.
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Acep Hale: Chicanery, Counting, and Cee-lo: Memory and Simulation in Service to Skulduggery
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 7:30pm
More here.
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A Thrilling Journey Into the Mind with Les the Mentalist
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 9:00pm
More here.
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The Coney Island Beach Ball - A Vogue Competition between the House of Vogue 3D and The Coney Island Dancers
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 9:00pm
More here.
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Kirlian Devices, William Burroughs, and Radionic Photography - An Illustrated Series of Lectures by Shannon Taggart, James Riley, Doug Skinner and Anthony Matt
Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 7:30pm
More here.
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Mechanical Medium - A film by Zoe Beloff with live sound by Gen. Ken Montgomery
Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 9:00pm
More here.
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TravSD: From Angels to Anarchists: The Evolution of the Marx Brothers
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 7:30pm
More here.
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Penny Arcade at the Penny Arcade
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 9:00pm
More here.
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The Congress for Curious People Symposium on "Simulation"
Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4 at 11:00 AM - 6 PM

Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 11:00am

11:00am: SIMULATION AND RELIGION
Sarah Johnson’s lecture on Jacques Marchais and the replica of a Tibetan Monastery on Staten Island. Followed by a film clip by Sal Olguin and a panel discussion moderated by Don Jolly and featuring Sarah Johnson, and Sal Olguin.

12:30pm: Lunch

1:30pm: POP, THE PARANORMAL AND OTHER MYTHS WE LIVE: CONTEMPLATING THE LIMINAL
Shannon Taggart, Acep Hale, and George Hansen who will give three short presentations on Myth and Popular Culture, Michael Jackson’s After Life, and Uri Geller at the Crossroads. Followed by a Q and A, moderated by Aaron Beebe

3:30pm: THE HISTORY OF DISPLAY
Chris Muller’s lecture on the history of display. Followed by World’s Fair home movies and a panel discussion moderated by Joanna Ebenstein and featuring Betsy Bradley and Chris Muller.
5:00pm: Break

5:30pm: Screening: “Vanished! A Video Seance” (1999, 75 minutes) by Brian Catling. Followed by a Q and A with the artist.

7:00pm Dinner for Congressional Pass Holders and Participants.

Sunday, May 4, 2014 - 11:00am

11:00am: “PASSING”
Adrienne Albright’s lecture on Medieval Cross-dressers. Followed by a performance by Tara Mateik, a simulated talk by Amy Herzog, and a panel discussion moderated by Amy Herzog and featuring Jennifer Miller, Martha Wilson, Tara Mateik, and Adrienne Albright.

12:30pm: Lunch

1:30pm: A VISIT TO THE SIDESHOW

3:00pm: Screening of Ronni Thomas' Morbid Anatomy Presents' “PHANTASAMAGORIA”

3:30pm: THE NORMAL, THE ABNORMAL, AND THE PATHOLOGICAL ON DISPLAY
John Troyer, Joanna Ebenstein and Mat Fraser on “the Normal, the Abnormal, and the Pathological on Display” followed by a panel discussion moderated by John Troyer.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Light and Dust: A Reading of Johannes Jacob Scheuchzer's 'Homo ex Humo': A Guest Post by Morbid Anatomy Scholar in Residence Richard Barnett

This April, we have been delighted to host Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow and medical historian Richard Barnett as Morbid Anatomy Library Scholar in Residence. This is the first of what we hope will be many posts wherein Richard responds to objects, ideas and artifacts in our collection. Here, he draws out the intricate tangle of ideas in the the illustrations of Scheuchzer's 1731 Physica Sacra (top image) and the fetal skeleton tableaux of Frederik Ruysch (bottom image). Copies of both books now reside in the Morbid Anatomy Museum Collection.
Light and Dust: A Reading of Johannes Jacob Scheuchzer's 'Homo ex Humo'
By Richard Barnett

Homo ex Humo: man from the dust. Scheuchzer’s intriguing trompe l’oie presents a picture within a picture, and a meditation on some of the oppositions at the heart of Christianity – eternity and time, grace and sin, flesh and word, light and dust.

Everything within the frame is graceful, in the most literal sense. Scheuchzer shows us the Garden of Eden on the evening of the sixth day of creation, as set out in the Book of Genesis 1:26-27 (King James Version):
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
A landscape which to modern eyes bears such clear traces of deep time and evolution served Scheuchzer and his readers well as a symbol of creation. The first dew is hardly dry on the ground, and even the dust, the abject and impermanent dust, is fresh and new. A gentle, sylvan river valley is busy with life: trees, flowers, fruits, grasses, and most of all animals, paired off two by two like the figures in a Victorian Noah’s Ark (though not in the Biblical version – see Genesis 7:1-3). Rabbits and horses, muskrats and storks have been made whole through union with a mate, and their lives are as complete as the paradise they inhabit.

Only one creature lacks a partner. Adam, the first man, seems startled to have been vaulted so suddenly into existence, and the curious position of his hands indicates an absence in his life, even in the moment of his creation. He appears to be trying to pray, but each hand cannot find its natural counterpart. If he is to praise his creator, if he is to live as contentedly the animals over which he has been granted dominion, he needs a companion. The voluptuous shapes of roots and tree-trunks beside him foreshadow what is on God’s mind, but the fulfilment of Adam’s lack will destroy the paradise we see.

Everything outside the frame is imperfect, and this imperfection is a consequence of the story unfolding within the frame. God creates Adam, then Eve, causing Adam to fall into a deep sleep and making the first woman from his rib (Genesis 1:18-25). Eve is tempted by the serpent and tempts Adam; both taste fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and fall from their original state of grace. Dissected specimens around the frame contrast the messy, fleshly reality of human reproduction, in sin and without grace, with the purity of God’s original creation in the picture – a shaft of light and a word.

On the right side of the frame is one of the strangest figures in Western art, borrowed from the Dutch anatomist Frederik Ruysch’s 'Tableau With Three Skeletons.' Ruysch combines two near-universal representations of birth and death – an infant and a skeleton – into a single figure expressing the sublime tragedy of creation and fall. The largest figure in the engraving, it seems to have stepped out of the picture and on to the frame, and this movement from perfection to imperfection may help to explain why it is drying its empty eye-sockets with a caul.

Inverting the natural order of things, this skeleton has died before it could be born, and it weeps for what is to come. If it is a child of Adam and Eve, is it Cain, the first murderer, or Abel, the first victim of murder? Leaving Eden, carrying the burden of original sin, it enacts the fall and banishment of its parents, taking the first reluctant steps on a long and hard road to salvation. No wonder it weeps, then; what can dry bones weep but dust?