Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Morbid Anatomy Events Addendum and Corrections

http://teespring.com/morbidanatomy
Apologies for the mistake, but this week's "Death and the Idea of Mexico. An Illustrated Lecture by Claudio Lomnitz, Director of the Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia University" will take place on Wednesday October 29th rather than Tuesday, October 21st as mistakenly listed; Tickets--and more--here. Also, the event "John Dee Through His Dreams: An Illustrated Lecture with Doug Skinner" will take place on Tuesday November 18th instead of Wednesday, October 29th as mistakenly listed; Tickets--and more--here.
 
Also of possible interest: New York Magazine has also just run a story on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new mourning costume show entitled "‘Death Becomes Her,’ Will Thrill Your Inner Goth." You can read that article here, and can check out the New York Times article linking that show to our own Art of Mourning exhibition here. We do hope you'll join us for a special tour of "Death Becomes Her" on Saturday, November 22nd with Morbid Anatomy Museum scholar in residence Karen Bachmann! Tickets and more on that here.

And lastly, only until October 26th, we are making avaialble limited edition Morbid Anatomy Museum tshirts (pictured above). Long and short sleeved are both available, and can be ordered here. All proceeds go to supporting the care and upkeep of the Morbid Anatomy Museum!

Following are upcoming and newly announced events with corrections. Hope to see you at one or more!

THIS WEEK
  • An Evening with The Horror Writers Association
    Thursday, October 23rd, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
     
  • Morbid Anatomy Day of the Dead/Dia de Los Muertos Party. Illustrated Lecture by Dr. Andrew Chesnut, Music, Costumes, Calavera Makeup, Tequila, Traditional Altar, Sugar Skulls, Death Piñata, and more! Sponsor Modelo Especial and Negra Modelo
    Friday, October 24th, 8pm, $25 - $15, Tickets (and more info) here
     
  • Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton
    Saturday, October 25th, 1pm - 4pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here
     
  • Morbid Anatomy Children's Halloween Party
    Sunday, October 26th, 1pm-4pm, FREE, RSVP here
     
  • Spirits and Ghosts I Have Known and Loved. An Illustrated Presentation with Dr. Stanley Krippner
    Tuesday, October 28th, 8pm, $12, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Death and the Idea of Mexico. An Illustrated Lecture by Claudio Lomnitz, Director of the Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia University
    NEW DATE Tuesday, October 21st, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
 
NEWLY ANNOUNCED
  • Adventures With The Burns Archive: An Open Forum with Stanley B. Burns, MD and Elizabeth A. Burns
    Friday, November 7th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
     
  • H.P. Lovecraft Brooklyn Guided Tour with Jane Rose
    Saturday, November 8th, 2pm, $20, Tickets (and more info) here
     
  • English Eccentricity: The Taxidermy of Walter Potter and Charles Waterton. An Illustrated Lecture with Dr. Pat Morris
    Monday, November 17th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
     
  • John Dee, Part I: Dee Through His Dreams: An Illustrated Lecture with Doug Skinner
    NEW DATE Wednesday, November 18, 8pm, $10, Tickets (and more info) here. {Part II here}
     
  • Pernicious, Pestilent Revenants: The Void of Malevolent Undead Imagery in Medieval England: An Illustrated Lecture with Candace Reilly, University of York
    Tuesday, November 25th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
     
  • Victorian Hair Art Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
    Saturday, December 6, 11 - 6pm, $150, Tickets (and more info) here
CANCELLED
  • How to Look Inside the Brain: An Illustrated Lecture by Carl Schoonover
    Wednesday, October 22nd; Stay tuned for new date

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Limited Edition Morbid Anatomy Tshirt Available Through October 26!

Limited Edition Morbid Anatomy Museum tshirts available only through October 26! Long and short sleeved available! You can order one here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Viktor Wynd Museum: A New Museum of Curiosities in London Needs Your Help!

 
Victor Wynd--friend, host of Morbid Anatomy's UK lecture series, and author of the upcoming Viktor Wynd's Cabinet of Wonders--is founding a new museum of curiosities in London, and he needs your help. Following is a guest post by Wynd himself (seen above, hugging bear) explaining his grand project; you can support it--and win such awards as an oyster feast around the sarcophagus!--by clicking here. You can also watch his Kickstarter video above.
I don't like the museums of today - they used to be towering treasure houses designed to fill their visitors with wonder and awe. Visitors weren't supposed to understand or be educated by what they saw - they were meant merely as the cerebral equivalents of today's amusement parks, people were supposed to be amused, shocked, delighted and filled with wonder, to go slowly in awe and speedily in joy.
When I  first became interested in Cabinets of Curiosity some fifteen years ago, I was astonished to discover that there weren't really any left. The remnants of once mighty Victorian Museums were swiftly transforming into interactive educational establishments guided by a misguided search for an always effervescent knowledge. London's Natural History Museum, which had so charmed and awed me as a child, was busy hiding all their dead animals and bringing in plastic moving and talking dinosaurs and flashy interactive noisy electronic panels, and the junk shops of my distant youth had disappeared. I started modestly - I thought if there weren't any curiosity shops I'd better open one. I was convinced I was onto a good thing; I would create the Woolworths of my generation, open a branch on every high street in very country of the world, where we would fight the modernist look and bury Ikea below an enormous pile of exquisite clutter.
Well, the shop failed, but I think that has more to do with my lack of commercial savvy and preference for buying rather than selling things... with the shop overflowing and losing money, and unable to get far beyond the front door of my home, I decided to turn the shop into the museum of my dreams. I am now almost there, and just need to raise a little more money to be able to open the doors - please, please pledge your support and I will be eternally grateful and post you kisses and all sorts of other treats - with over 40 rewards including a copy of my book Viktor Wynd's Cabinet of Wonders; the opportunity to have your (un)loved ones name inside the lavatory bowl; or come and join me sometime for tea or a cocktail in the Spare Room (dedicated to the Occultist and Crowley associate) Austin Osman Spare.
MORE ON THE MUSEUM
The Last Tuesday Society presents the first all encompassing museum to open in London since the Horniman Museum in 1901. The museum focuses on the per-enlightenment origins of the museum as Wunderkabinett – a mirror to a world so suffused with miracles and beauty that any attempt at categorization is bound to fail. Where contemporary museumology hides 90% of a collection, attempts to educate and explain, to put the world into neat little labeled drawers dictated by an obscurantist elite establishment this museum will merely display everything that has glittered and caught the eye of it’s founder – from rare priceless marvels of the natural and scientific worlds like Dodo Bones or speculum to the intriguing beauty of McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys, from old master etchings to prison inmates and women’s doodles, occultists paintings and pop art prints, the horrors and wonders of nature, two headed kittens and living coral. By placing the rare and the beautiful on the same plane as the commonplace, banal  and amusing this museum seeks not to educate but to subvert, to show the world not in a grain of sand, but in a Hackney basement. The Museum has no overreaching aim beyond the theft of it’s visitors time and the hope that it will provide amusement by return and hopes to fill the vacuum between what the establishment elite believes is worthy of worship and what exists in the world.

A place for the wraiths and strays of London’s forgotten bohemian world to gather amongst the dead and the beautiful on deep crimson velvet banquettes, sip absinthe and encage in lively and languorous intellectual debate.

The Museum will be divided into two parts – The Upper Galleries with up to two art exhibitions a year and The Wunderkabinett displaying high (and low) lights from the permanent collection in a double vaulted basement, arranged as a gesumskunstwerk in custom built and salvaged museum and jewelry cases. The Lion Room is available for private hire for dinners and intimate encounters for up to ten people.

Collections
The museum will show work and objects both from The Viktor Wynd Collection and from private and institutional loans including…

  • Curiosities: Shrunken Head, Tin Toys, a bullet and piece of bone from a boys foot, Napoleon’s Death Mask, a casket containing some of the original darkness Moses called down upon earth, French 19th Century water colours and outsider porn, silly books, stone axes
  • Natural History: animal, bird and fish skulls - from a mouse to an elephant to an extinct Auroch, dodo bones, giant ant eater skeleton, Taxidermied dogs skeletons from a Giant Anteater and Lion to a mole, squirrels, sparrow and swan, Japanese Spider, every single British Butterfly, a large living coral reef aquarium
  • Fine Art: Alastair Mackie, Tessa Farmer, Kate MccGwire, Mat Killick, Theatre of Dolls, Paul Hazleton, Stephen Wright, Magnus Irvin, Shez Dawood, Eleanor Crook, Ed Kluz, in depth collection of Austin Osman Spare, Stephen Tennant, Leonora Carrington (graphic works), Mervyn Peake and Gunter Grass. Loans from the IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Tate Liverpool, The Lowry, and Kendal Museum and Kelvingrove; Dandies: an in depth collection (much on loan from the estate) relating to the Dandies Sebastian Horsley and Stephen Tennant, ranging from Sebastian Horsley’s nails from his crucifixion to the 1920s scrap books of Stephen Tenant.

Cocktail Bar, Café and Restaurant
The ground floor will host a tiny café/bar/restaurant run by Clapton’s Bonneville under chef Oly Launcy serving light bites as well as an extensive evening cocktail menu. The Lion room in the Wunderkabinett will be available for private.

Exhibitions
  • The Infected Museum November 2014-May 2015
  • The Return of The Fairies – Tessa Farmer May 2015- November 2015
  • Surreal England October 2014-April 2015
  • Mervyn Peake, Alasdair Gray and Gunter Grass May 2015-November 2015
  • Austin Osman Spare February 2016 – August 2016

The Lecture Series
The Society runs London’s longest running independent literary salon and has hosted over 500 lectures since 2005 from household names to unpublished obsessives. Mark Pilkington and Amber Butchart will join Viktor Wynd as curators, organizing a wide variety of talks and workshops

The Origins of The Collection
In common with many children Viktor Wynd was filled with an insatiable desire to possess things and collected everything he could – from stones to snakes and stamps. Unfortunately he has never grown out of the habit, the opening of his vastly successful curiosity shop “Viktor Wynd’s Little Shop of Horrors” and eponymous gallery in 2009 gave him both an insatiable appetite for stuff and the means to find and buy more. Always keener on buying than selling the collection grew and grew.

THE PEOPLE 

Viktor Wynd
Is an artist and ‘pataphysicist working in the field of Relational Aesthetics, after being the awarded The Rosenquist Fellowship in Fine Arts and pursuing a M.F.A. at The University of South Florida in the early noughties he exhibited for a while through the commercial gallery and fair system before founding The Last Tuesday Society in 2005 to pursue his projects – including “Loss; an Evening of Exquisite Misery”. Over the last ten years it has put on a bewildering array of events including over 500 literary Salons, vast Masquerade Balls with over 300 performers and 3000 guests, Séances, art exhibitions, Wyndstock – a Midsummer Night’s Ball at Houghton Hall, selling over 75,000 tickets. The Viktor Wynd Museum is the society’s biggest and most ambitious project to date.

Art Director
Mat is responsible for turning Wynd’s vague dreams into a physical museum and reinterpreting them in a practical and affordable light. As an art director and independent curator he has worked extensively internationally for numerous clients for the last 14 years. For the last ten years he has worked closely with Bryan Adams and is currently curating his exhibition at Somerset House. He is an accomplished artist creating strange almost abstract oil paintings as Matthew Killick. His work is held in many private. His most recent and current exhibition of vast lightboxes on Great eastern Street.

Literary Director
Mark Pilkington founded and runs Strange Attractor, which has been shining a spotlight on adventurous and intelligent alternative culture since 2001. As Strange Attractor, Mark has programmed and hosted countless events in venues all over London and the UK and has curated three exhibitions. Meanwhile, Strange Attractor's publishing arm has published over 30 books, including four editions of its acclaimed Journal, London's Lost Rivers, Austin Osman Spare, and Welcome to Mars.

Fashion Director
Amber Butchart is a fashion historian  on a quest to reveal the secrets of our sartorial past and place the semiotics of style in a wider cultural, political and social sphere. She has contributed to productions for the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky Arts. She presents a regular ‘In Conversation’ series at the V and A museum looking at issues concerning the clothed body in fashion and performance. As the red-haired half of the Broken Hearts DJ duo she has played at The Society’s Parties and co-hosts a weekly swing radio show on Jazz FM. A former Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London, Amber has an extensive speaking career and she is an Associate Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion. She has an upcoming book on the history of nautical style, to be published by Thames and Hudson. Amber Jane Butchart's Fashion Miscellany, her compilation of vestimentary oddities, is out now.

The Viktor Wynd Museum and The Last Tuesday Society is proud to not be in receipt of any government funding whatever believing that not only does the government have better things to spend it’s money on, like health, education and meaningless foreign wars but that the funding often has a stultifying effect (besides even looking at an arts council form brings on a headache)
Again, you can donate to this worthy cause by clicking here!
All above images by Oskar Proctor

Death and Mexico! Day of the Dead Party! Halloween Children's Party! Upcoming Morbid Anatomy Events

Happy Day of the Dead and Halloween season! To celebrate, we have dozens of terrific events coming up at The Morbid Anatomy Museum. Following, you will find a list of events taking place this week, as well as newly announced and cancelled events; you can see a list of all upcoming events by clicking here. To sign up for our weekly mailer and get these alerts sent to your inbox, click here.

There is also a very lovely piece in this weekend's New York Times about the resurgence of interest in death and mourning and in contemporary culture, focusing on the Morbid Anatomy Museum's current Art of Mourning exhibition (on view through January 5) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire; You can read the full story here. On November 22, scholar in residence Karen Bachmann will also lead us on a special tour of Death Becomes Her, on which more here. Also in the news: last week's Headless Horseman Variety Show--in which we celebrated the release of Elizabeth Bradley's Penguin Classics edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow--got a nice shout out in this week's New Yorker; read it by clicking here.

Morbid Anatomy is committed to making all of our events affordable, but to do this, we need you support. If you are a fan of what we do, please consider becoming a member (with all the benefits that entails!) by clicking here or making a donation by clicking here

Thanks, and hope to see you at one of these great upcoming events!

THIS WEEK

• Gowanus Open Studios: Morbid Anatomy Museum Free Weekend!
As part of Gowanus Open Studios, the Morbid Anatomy Museum will waive all admissions THIS WEEKEND Saturday, October 18th and Sunday, October 19th, 12 - 6. More here 

• Sex, Death and Rebirth in Ancient Egypt: Illustrated Lecture with Ava Vitalli
TONIGHT Saturday, October 18th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here

An Evening with The Horror Writers Association 
Thursday, October 23rd, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here

Morbid Anatomy Day of the Dead/Dia de Los Muertos Party. Illustrated Lecture by Dr. Andrew Chesnut, Music, Costumes, Calavera Makeup, Tequila, Traditional Altar, Sugar Skulls, Death Piñata, and more! Sponsor Modelo Especial and Negra Modelo
Friday, October 24th, 8pm, $25 - $15, Tickets (and more info) here

Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop with Daisy Tainton
Saturday, October 25th, 1pm - 4pm, $75, Tickets (and more info) here

Morbid Anatomy Children's Halloween Party
Sunday, October 26th, 1pm-4pm, FREE, RSVP here

Spirits and Ghosts I Have Known and Loved. An Illustrated Presentation with Dr. Stanley Krippner
Tuesday, October 28th, 8pm, $12, Tickets (and more info) here

Death and the Idea of Mexico. An Illustrated Lecture by Claudio Lomnitz, Director of the Center for Mexican Studies at Columbia University
Wednesday, October 29th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
NEWLY ANNOUNCED
• Adventures With The Burns Archive: An Open Forum with Stanley B. Burns, MD and Elizabeth A. Burns
Friday, November 7th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here

H.P. Lovecraft Brooklyn Guided Tour with Jane Rose
Saturday, November 8th, 2pm, $20, Tickets (and more info) here


English Eccentricity: The Taxidermy of Walter Potter and Charles Waterton. An Illustrated Lecture with Dr. Pat Morris
Monday, November 17th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here


Pernicious, Pestilent Revenants: The Void of Malevolent Undead Imagery in Medieval England: An Illustrated Lecture with Candace Reilly, University of York
Tuesday, November 25th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here


Victorian Hair Art Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Saturday, December 6, 11 - 6pm, $150, Tickets (and more info) here
In the Shop

CANCELLED

How to Look Inside the Brain: An Illustrated Lecture by Carl Schoonover
Wednesday, October 22nd; Stay tuned for new date! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Schwendeman Taxidermy Studio Flash Sale, Sunday October 19, 11-5, Milltown, New Jersey

This just in from our pal Bruce Schwendeman, the man behind the legendary Schwendeman Taxidery Studio--as seen in above photos--in Milltown New Jersey:
Schwendeman Taxidermy Studio   
119 S Main St, Milltown, NJ 08505  732-853-6737
davestaxi@aol.com or text to 570-351-2760

The Schwendeman's have been in business for almost 100 years at the historic above location.  We have acquired many antiquities and items of great interest in that time.  However, the time has come to move our main location.  But before that we are having a couple of FLASH SALES--- THIS THE FIRST- thus you get the best  chance to purchase the best at our first sale- 

Sunday,  October 19,  2014
11:00 am till 5:00pm

You will see great finds--- taxidermy, specimens, books, skins, bones, teeth, forms, body parts, accessories of all kinds and ages at great prices. 

THIS FLASH SALE is a once in a lifetime sale.... The Schwendeman's lifetime.      

The early birds gets the worm- so plan to get there early for the best deals.  The Schwendeman's started  in 1915 expanding to the studio in 1921. The sale will be first come first served.

So great prices, all original pieces and good company.

Sincerely David Bruce Schwendeman
                BS Wildlife Biology 
                MS   Zoology

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hair Art, Death Masks, Spirit Photography and Arcane Books: Come to the Morbid Anatomy Museum for Free this Saturday and Sunday, October 18 and 19th, from 12-6!

This weekend October 18th and 19th--as part of Gowanus Open Studios--The Morbid Anatomy Museum will be free and open to the public from 12-6!

Now on view is our "Art of Mourning" exhibit, featuring dozens of stunning, never before exhibited postmortem photographs, spirit photographs, memorial paintings and more from the private collection of Stanley B. Burns MD, author of Sleeping Beauty and founder of the astoundingly rich Burns Archive (website here). The show also features a dizzying array of hair art shadowboxes and jewelry and dioramas (!), death masks, and more from the collections of Evan Michelson (co-curator of the exhibition), Karen Bachmann, Jennifer Berman, Elizabeth A. Burns, Alice Lease Dana, Tracy Hurley MartinEvan Michelson and Mike Zohn. You can find out more on that here.

The Morbid Anatomy Library will also be open, so come play with the books, the bones, and the Santa Muerte statues! Hope to see you there!

Image top to bottom:
  1. Art of Mourning Exhibition: Stanley B. Burns MD  and The Burns Archive "Memorial Wall"
  2. Art of Mourning Exhibition: Death Masks; top: L'Inconnue de la Seine, Collection of Evan Michelson; Bottom: Unknown man, Collection of Mike Zohn
  3. Art of Mourning Exhibition: Memorial hairwork on glass (unfinished?), probably late 19th century, Collection of Jennifer Berman
  4. Art of Mourning Exhibition: Framed mourning woolwork with hair, Collection of Jennifer Berman
  5. Art of Mourning Exhibition: Mourning pendant, late 18th century, Collection of Jennifer Berman
  6. Art of Mourning Exhibition: Large shadowbox with hair wreath and photo, mid 19th century, Collection of Evan Michelson
  7. Art of Mourning Exhibition: Memorial Diorama: Graveyard scene with human hair, painted wood and wax, dated 1886. The leaves on the trees and shrubs in this unusual diorama—and the chain linking the fence posts—all incorporate real human hair, presumably that of the dead beloved. Collection of Evan Michelson
  8. Morbid Anatomy Library
  9. Morbid Anatomy Library
  10. Morbid Anatomy Library

Monday, October 13, 2014

Anatomy Boutique at The Morbid Anatomy Giftshop

 
We at Morbid Anatomy were delighted to host London-based Emily Evans as our first Anatomist and Artist in residence at the newly opened Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn this past July. Emily teaches human anatomy and dissection at Cambridge University; she also creates medical illustrations for textbooks and, over the past few years, has been developing a variety of exquisite products inspired by her love of the beauty of anatomy under the banner of "Anatomy Boutique." We are delighted to be featuring her gorgeous work on our Morbid Anatomy online giftshop.

When asked to describe her work, Emily says:
I am interested in the relationship that humans have with their bodies, their lack of knowledge of it’s structure coupled with a squeamish response to visceral imagery.

By taking traditional imagery and re-imagining it through modern interpretation and contemporary design, I hope people can develop a new relationship with anatomy.

It is important for me to design everyday objects that people can own and live with that they see as beautiful.

I have spent nearly 20 years reinterpreting anatomy by teaching or drawing it in a way that people can access the information, Anatomy Boutique is an extension of this practice.
You can see all of Emily's pieces in our giftshop by clicking here; You can find out more about the products pictures above--with links to find out more and purchase--below, in order of appearance:
  1. Anatomy of Digestion: Fine china decorated with patterns associated with the anatomy and histology of human digestion- human teeth, stomach mucosa, arteries of the intestines and lobules of liver tissue. More here.
  2. Teeth Cup and Saucer from Anatomy of Digestion. More here.
  3. Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Wallpaper: This iconic image representing memento mori has been given a sophisticated twist by replicating it in gold on a rich dark charcoal wallpaper. More here.
  4. Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Wallpaper detail in situ. More here.
  5. Day of the Dead cushions. More here.
  6. Cardiac wallpaper: Human hearts are entwined with one another in this decadent wallpaper reminiscent of the arts and crafts movement. More here.
  7. Scalp Histology Scarf: decorated with the actual images of prepared human tissue sections. Available in a range of different tissue types. More here.
  8. Histology plates: decorated with the actual images of prepared human tissue sections. Available in a range of different tissue types. More here.
  9. Histology cups and saucers: decorated with the actual images of prepared human tissue sections. Available in a range of different tissue types. More here.
  10. Epidermis leather goods: Leather phone cases, wallets and purses embossed with the microscopic pattern of the epidermis of human skin tissue. More here.

From Pharaohs to iPads: A Brief History of Dissection: Guest Post by Grace Costantino, Biodiversity Heritage Library


Following is a guest post written by Grace Costantino, outreach and communications manager of one my favorite projects: the Biodiversity Heritage Library, an open access digital library which makes available a dizzyingly rich array of literature and imagery related to biodiversity. You can learn more about this wonderful project here.

From Pharaohs to iPads: A Brief History of Dissection
 If you went to high school in the United States, chances are you’ve dissected a frog. As early as 1988, an estimated 75-80% of American high school students had performed a frog dissection, and today’s estimates indicate that six million vertebrates are dissected annually in U.S. high school classes.



Dissection has been used as an educational tool for understanding the function of organs and the structure of muscular and skeletal systems for millennia. The study of anatomy dates back to at least 1600 BC, when the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus of Egypt, one of the oldest known medical papyri, identified key organs and asserted that blood vessels emanate from the heart.



Scientists such as Alcmaeon, Aristotle, and Galen propelled the field of anatomy forward through animal dissection. In the 5th century BC, Alcmaeon provided a foundation for anatomical science that was expanded by Aristotle in the 4th century BC through the advent of comparative anatomy.  While Greek physicians Herophilos and Erasistratos reportedly pioneered the systematic dissection of human bodies in the 3rd century BC, Roman law at the time forbade such practices. Thus, Galen relied on animal dissections to infer knowledge about human anatomy in the 2nd century AD. While his insights proved useful, they also contributed to centuries of misconceptions. His declarations about the functioning of the human uterus were based on that of dogs, of kidneys on that of pigs, and of the brain on those of cows and goats.


The development of the printing press in the 1400s spurred conversations about anatomy and kindled a re-examination of Galen’s teachings. Anatomical drawings and even dissection studies were published, many by celebrated artists. In the 1500s, Andreas Vesalius, considered the founder of modern human anatomy, fiercely challenged Galen’s work in his own publication and emphasized the need for dissection as a teaching and research tool.



Ethical and religious dilemmas over human dissection, as well as supply and decomposition challenges, fed the continued dissection of animals as a means of understanding the body and its systems. Numerous books circulated in the 18th-20th centuries illustrating animal anatomy. Jules Philippe Louis Anglas published a series of book on dissection in the early 1900s entitled Les Animaux de Laboratoire. His unit on La Grenouille presented the frog’s anatomy as a series of flaps that could be opened to reveal underlying  structures.





The use of human cadavers in medical classrooms became prevalent in the 19th century, representing a shift from the previous arena of anatomical theaters. In the early 1900s, animal dissections in biology classes became common, with frog dissection integrated into college courses and, by the 1920s, high school curricula as well. In the 1960s, the federally-funded Biological Sciences Curriculum Study implemented elementary and secondary science curricula with advanced courses involving cat, mink, and fetal pig dissection.



Animal rights activism, and high profile anti-dissection cases like Jenifer Graham’s, have fueled interest in viable alternatives to physical dissections. Twenty-first century technological advances have opened the door to a wide range of possibilities. Much as Anglas’ book did for early twentieth century audiences, computer apps and simulations allow students to examine anatomical intricacies scalpel-free. Innovative medical classrooms also utilize synthetic cadavers to enhance student experiences, sometimes in lieu of the real thing. And while MythBusters may have featured “Syndavers” as fabulous alternatives to pigs for their experiments, these intricate tools represent a whole new (albeit expensive – each Syndaver averages $40,000 USD) era in anatomical study. 



From animals and cadavers to interactive books and revolutionary technological innovations, one can’t help but wonder what an anatomy classroom will look like in one hundred years. What the Pharaohs would have given to have an Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus app….

Images, top to bottom:
  1. Levi W., pub. Yaggy. Yaggy's anatomical study. 1885. Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries: http://www.sil.si.edu/imagegalaxy/imagegalaxy_imageDetail.cfm?id_image=5129
  2. Plates vi & vii of the Edwin Smith Papyrus at the Rare Book Room, New York Academy of Medicine.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Smith_Papyrus#mediaviewer/File:Edwin_Smith_Papyrus_v2.jpg
  3. Engraving of an Autopsy. Joannes de Ketham, Fasciculus Medicine, 15 Oct. 1495. Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries. http://www.sil.si.edu/imagegalaxy/imagegalaxy_imageDetail.cfm?id_image=9781
  4. Portrait of Andreas Vesalius, performing a dissection. Andreas Vesalius. De Humani Corporis Fabrica ,1543. Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries: http://www.sil.si.edu/imagegalaxy/imagegalaxy_imageDetail.cfm?id_image=9908
  5. The anatomy of a man. Andreas Vesalius. De Humani Corporis Fabrica, 1543. Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries: http://www.sil.si.edu/imagegalaxy/imagegalaxy_imageDetail.cfm?id_image=9915
  6. Anatomy of a Frog. Jules Anglas. Les Animaux de Laboratoire: La Grenouille. 1901. Digitized for the Biodiversity Heritage Library by the Field Museum. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/64040#/summary
  7. Anatomy of a Snake. Alfred Edmund Brehm. Allgemeine kunde des Tierreichs, v. 1. 1920. Digitized for the Biodiversity Heritage Library by Harvard University, MCZ, Ernst Mayr Library. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/2977793
  8. Anatomy of a Turtle. Ludwig Heinrich Bojanus. Anatome testudinis Europaeae, v. 2. 1819-21. Digitized for the Biodiversity Heritage Library by Harvard University, MCZ, Ernst Mayr Library.  http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/2969639
  9. Anatomy of the Male Blowfly. Benjamin Thompson Lowne. The anatomy, physiology, morphology and development of the blow-fly (Calliphora erythrocephala). v. 1. 1890-92. Digitized for the Biodiversity Heritage Library by MBLWHOI Library. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/1294770
  10. Skeleton of a Seal. Christian Heinrich Pander. Die vergleichende Osteologie. 1821-38. Digitized for the Biodiversity Heritage Library by Smithsonian Libraries. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/40170578
  11. Virtual Frog Dissection app from Punflay, demoed on an iPad.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day of the Dead Party! Hilton Sisters Documentary! Death in Paris! Hair Art Jewelry Roundtable! Headless Horsemen Variety Show! This Week and Beyond at Morbid Anatomy


We have bunches of terrific events coming up at The Morbid Anatomy Museum! Below you will find a list of events taking place this week, as well as newly announced and cancelled events; you can see a list of all upcoming events here.

You also won't want to miss our annual Morbid Anatomy Day of the Dead/Dia de Los Muertos Party taking place on Friday, October 24th! Sponsored by Modelo Especial and Negra Modelo, it will feature a mini-lecture by Dr. Andrew Chesnut, author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, The Skeleton Saint; Calavera Makeup by Jane Rose; music by DJ in Residence Friese Undine; an altar honoring late film director Luis Bunuel; and as always, an opportunity to strike a mortal blow to our Lady Death herself in piñata form! Tickets are $15 for members/$25 for the general public, and can be purchased here

Also, hope very much to see you at Gowanus Open Studios, next weekend, October 18th and 19th; As part of the festival, The Museum will be free and open to the public! More on that here.

Morbid Anatomy is committed to making all of our events affordable, but to do this, we need you support. If you are a fan of what we do, please consider becoming a member (with all the benefits that entails!) by clicking here or making a donation by clicking here

Thanks, and hope to see you at one of these great upcoming events! 

THIS WEEK
  • Halloween/Day of the Dead Flea Market with multiple vendors selling taxidermy galore, Mexican folk art, unusual antiques, obscure books, and assorted curiosities
    TODAY October 12, 12-6pm, FREE, More info here
  • Screening of ¡Que Viva Mexico! by Sergei Eisenstein
    TONIGHT October 12, 8:00 pm, $8,
    Tickets (and more info) here
  • Back by Popular Demand: "Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes": Screening and discussion with Jon Ronson
    Tuesday, October 14th, 8pm, $15, Tickets (and more info) here
  • NYC Gin Society presents: All About Bitters in Association with the NYC Gin Society
    Wednesday, October 15th, 7:30pm, $20 for NYC Gin Society Members, $30 for non-members, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Headless Horseman Variety Show: Mini-lectures, Physiognomy, and a Visit from the Headless Horseman!
    Thursday, October 16th, 8pm, $20, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Gowanus Open Studios: Morbid Anatomy Museum Free Weekend!
    As part of Gowanus Open Studios, the Morbid Anatomy Museum will waive all admissions this weekend! No appointment necessary.
    Saturday, October 18th and Sunday, October 19th, 12 - 6. More here
  • Sex, Death and Rebirth in Ancient Egypt: Illustrated Lecture with Ava Vitalli
    Saturday, October 18th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Phantom Creep Cinema: Vintage Horror Films, Cartoons, Popcorn and Nonsense
    Sunday, October 19th, 3pm-7pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
NEWLY ANNOUNCED
  • "Bound by Flesh: The Amazing Story of Daisy and Violet Hilton" A Special Screening of Leslie Zemeckis's Documentary on Conjoined Twins The Hilton Sisters
    Wednesday, November 12th,  8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Death and Burial in Paris: An Illustrated Lecture by Seth Gopin
    Saturday, November 15th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Victorian Hair Art: A Roundtable and Show and Tell and Museum Late Night with Collectors Evan Michelson, Karen Bachmann and Jennifer Berman
    Wednesday, November 19th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
  • Charred remains: Spontaneous Human Combustion and You, an Illustrated lecture with Scholar in Residence Karen BachmannMonday, November 24th, 8pm, $8, Tickets (and more info) here
CANCELLED
  • Human Sacrifice in Theory and History: Mexico and Beyond: Reading and Discussion Group. Reading and discussion group with Salvador Olguín, co-sponsored by Mexican Culture Institute of New York
    Three Mondays October 13th, 20th and 27th
      
  • Papel Picado Workshop with Artist Rebeca Olguín

    Sunday, October 26th

     

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Morbid Anatomy Musuem Alert: Closing Today--Saturday October 11--For Wedding

 
The Morbid Anatomy Museum will be closing today--Saturday October 11--at 5pm for our first wedding. Please plan your visit accordingly, and, if you are interested in a private event of your own, email us at info@morbidanatomymuseum.org!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Carving of Guy of Gaunt: A Modern Day Transi Tomb Sculpture: Guest Post by Sculptor Eleanor Crook



Friend of Morbid Anatomy and future Artist in Residence Eleanor Crook--an amazing sculptor and waxworker--is currently crowdsourcing a project to carve a new wooden "transi," or type of tomb sculpture popular in late Medieval Europe which depicts the rotting body cadaver in the grave below. She is doing this project in tandem with Dr. Christina Welch of Winchester University in England, a researcher and cataloger of historical transi.

Following, in Eleanor's own words, is a brief history of the transi, and a description of her proposed project; to find out more, watch the video above or click here. You can support this very worthy project by clicking here. For a recent post on one of the most famous historical transis--that of René de Chalon--click here.

The Carving of Guy of Gaunt: A Modern Day Medieval Cadaver Tomb and a Transi for Everyone 
Guest Post by Sculptor Eleanor Crook

The most morbid and anatomical tomb statues  ever made were the Transi tombs of late Medieval Europe. (“Transi” in Latin means “I have passed over.”) Wealthy aristocrats and high-ranking churchmen arranged for their grave monuments to show them in death as an emaciated, naked corpse in a funeral shroud, with a skeletal grimace leering in the face of mortality (see image above).

The exact meaning of so graphic an image of death on the monuments of the powerful has been shrouded (sorry) in mystery for five centuries, but is now the subject of a scholarly study by Dr Christina Welch of Winchester University in England. She has visited, photographed and catalogued the Transis and compared them with what is known about late Medieval Catholic beliefs about the Afterlife, and will shortly be publishing her fascinating findings. She has invited me, an anatomical and morbid sculptor (known to some of you in Morbid Anatomy through my workshops and exhibitions over the last few years)  to join in the research by carving a new Transi in wood, a Transi for today and for us all.

The physical presence of the Transis is amazing; they are neither altogether alive nor altogether dead, and their anatomy is surprisingly accurate and lovingly carved, given a society where nakedness was shameful and clothing far from revealing. Their racked ribs heave upwards as though for a last breath; the veins stand out on their harrowed limbs, necks and temples. Their hollow eyes are often partly open, their mouths agape in a final agony. Although they depict specific historical figures, they stand in for any of us with our mortal body, our fear of what comes after, our vulnerable and failing flesh. Speaking as one who has worked in medical museums and dissection rooms, I truly believe they were carved from first hand observation of deceased persons by the sculptors as nothing else explains the astonishing realism – at a time when the sculptures of the living were still rather formalised and generalised. More lifelike than the living?  I would say so.


 
Some of the Transi tombs are like bunk beds – the idealised person shown laid in state above, the shrivelled corpse lying directly below like a bad conscience, raising questions about the soul, purgatory and the idea of bodily resurrection on the Day of Judgement.



They were often painted in lifelike ( deathlike) colours with blue veins and coloured skin. Some patrons commissioned them while they were still alive: one well known Bishop delivered his sermons from a pulpit right above his own completed Transi, which must have been a sobering experience for his flock and for him too.



British Transis are rare: Originating in late 14th century France, the first monument in England was that of Archbishop Henry Chichele (c.1364-1443), which was constructed around 1425 (almost twenty years before his death) and is in Canterbury Cathedral. The English carved cadaver memorials date from between c1425 to 1558. However, in art history they have not received the attention they deserve, inexplicably passed over despite their powerful appeal. Readers of the Morbid Anatomy Blog will be surprised to hear that many Transis are tucked away , forgotten and dusty in their local churches and cathedrals, their true meaning a mystery to most and their uncompromising gruesomeness  out of step with contemporary church sensibilities, given the British tendency to brush death under the carpet. Christina plans to publish a book on these neglected and little known monuments to mortality, with photographs and a chapter on techniques , and reinstate them as an important contribution to the art of the memorial.

And my Transi wood carving? I have long been fascinated with the matter of the body and how it can support life one moment and then become an inanimate object, a corpse, the next. I have had experience of dissection and autopsy, studied anatomy and drawn skeletons and specimens for years, all leading up to the  point where I can hew a universal image of bodily mortality from real sources and using the accumulated knowledge and fascination I  - and all readers of this blog no doubt - have. I learned wood carving at a traditional school in the Austrian Alps where the Catholic Church still requires wooden painted saints. Bellow is my carving of the head of St. Edmund , an early Christian martyr who lost his head to Vikings (but the head kept calling out to his faithful followers!)



If you would like to be involved in the new Cadaver Tomb, you can , by contributing to our Crowdfunding appeal to pay for the seasoned prepared block of suitable wood and transport of a two – meter high block to my studio and to the exhibitions (I am donating my time and strong right arm for free) -  in return for prints of Christina’s photos of Transis or prints of my drawings of them, depending on contribution. Our appeal is 74% funded at time of writing and I have been overjoyed at the collective excitement at the idea of a new Transi carving, the first in over 500 years: I will be carving it in honour of all of those of us who are bold and proud in facing the mortality of the body and the mystery of the human condition.
Eleanor Crook, Sculptor

To support the carving of Guy the  Gaunt please pledge at
http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/guy-the-gaunt/

For more information on the Carved Cadaver memorials please visit http://carvedcadavers.wix.com/eccm 

For more information on Eleanor Crook please visit http://www.eleanorcrook.com.



Images, top to bottom:
  1. Archbishop Henry Chichele c.1364-1443, Canterbury Cathedral
  2. Detail of image 1
  3. Transi Tomb of John FitzAlan, 14th Earl of Arundel, at Arundel Castle chapel
  4. Unidentified Transi, Hemingbrough, UK
  5. Eleanor Crook's carving of St. Edmund
  6. Transi of William Parkhouse, Exeter Cathedral