Sunday, February 14, 2016

New Morbid Anatomy Book on the Uncanny Allure of the Anatomical Venus!

Morbid Anatomy began in 2007 as a research tool for an exhibition called Anatomical Theatre, which explored the uncanny allure of historical wax medical models. Of all those models, by far the most seductive and fascinating is life-sized, ecstatically posed Anatomical Venus.

Since that time, the Anatomical Venus has served as both a guide and a muse for the entire Morbid Anatomy project, inspiring research and trips around the world; exhibitions including Exquisite Bodies at the Wellcome Collection; a variety of lectures and articles; and, as of May 24th, a brand new, hardcover, gorgeously designed and lavishly illustrated (see sample page spreads above) 224 page book entitled The Anatomical Venus, published by Thames and Hudson in the UK (top image) and by DAP (second image) in the USA.

The book uses The Anatomical Venus as a point of departure to explore the many paths that lead from her; it situates her within her "historical and cultural context in order to reveal the shifting attitudes toward death and the body that today render such spectacles strange. It reflects on connections between death and wax, the tradition of life-sized simulacra and preserved beautiful women, the phenomenon of women in glass boxes in fairground displays, and ideas of the ecstatic, the sublime and the uncanny."

The full official ad copy for the book follows; stay tuned for information on parties and symposia to celebrate its release taking place in both New York City and London! And, although the book will not be officially released until mid-May, it can be pre-ordered in the USA here, and here for the rest of the world.
Of all the artifacts from the history of medicine, the Anatomical Venus—with its heady mixture of beauty, eroticism and death—is the most seductive. These life-sized dissectible wax women reclining on moth-eaten velvet cushions—with glass eyes, strings of pearls, and golden tiaras crowning their real human hair—were created in eighteenth-century Florence as the centerpiece of the first truly public science museum. Conceived as a means to teach human anatomy, the Venus also tacitly communicated the relationship between the human body and a divinely created cosmos; between art and science, nature and mankind. Today, she both intrigues and confounds, troubling our neat categorical divides between life and death, body and soul, effigy and pedagogy, entertainment and education, kitsch and art.

The first book of its kind, The Anatomical Venus, by Morbid Anatomy founder and Morbid Anatomy Museum co-founder and director Joanna Ebenstein, features over 250 images—many never before published—gathered by its author from around the world. Its extensively researched text explores the Anatomical Venus within her historical and cultural context in order to reveal the shifting attitudes toward death and the body that today render such spectacles strange. It reflects on connections between death and wax, the tradition of life-sized simulacra and preserved beautiful women, the phenomenon of women in glass boxes in fairground displays, and ideas of the ecstatic, the sublime and the uncanny. 

Happy Valentine's Day from All of Us at Morbid Anatomy!

Happy Valentine's Day from all of us at Morbid Anatomy!

Top image: Sacred Heart of Jesus with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Louis Gonzaga, José de Páez, Mexico, 1727-179

Bottom image: Husband and Wife Nobles, from Cycle of Scenes of Living Skeletons, Paolo Vincenzo Bonomini, (1757 – 1839)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sign Petition to Save the the Wonderful Musée Depuytren of Paris!

We have just learned that one our favorite medical museums--The Musée Depuytren of Paris--is in danger of closing.

There is a petition being circulated to protest this closure; we have signed, and hope you will, too! You can do so by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Morbid Anatomy 2nd Annual Gala! Insect Petting Zoo! The Cult of Fashion! Demystifying Shamanism! Camera Obscura Workshop! Life After Near Death! 

We have many wonderful upcoming events at the Morbid Anatomy Museum!

First, please save the date for the second annual Morbid Anatomy Museum Gala and Afterparty. We hope you can join us for a special evening of dinner, drinks, performances & special guests, an auction of one-of-a-kind art, objects, and experiences, and much more this April 12th at the Bell House.




A few tickets are still available for our upcoming anthropomorphic mouse taxidermy class with Amber Maykut (Saturday, January 30th, 12 pm to 4 pm) and Victorian hair art workshop with master jeweler Karen Bachmann (Sunday, January 31st, 11 am to 6 PM).

For our friends in Spain, we hope to see you at this year's Congress for Curious People sponsored by Hendrick's Gin February 3rd to 7th. Learn more about the programming by clicking through for day 1, day 2, night 2, day 3, day 4, night 4,
and day 5.

Hope to see you there!

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IMMEDIATELY UPCOMING EVENTS
Midcentury Stereopanorama with Eric Drysdale: Look and see the 1950s in 3-D!
Wednesday, January 27th, 8 pm, $20. Tickets and more info here.

Deathly Contemplation: 17th Century Dutch Vanitas Paintings: An Illustrated lecture with Lauren Davis
Thursday, January 28th, 8 pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

The Executioner, Unhooded: An Illustrated Lecture with Alison Kinney
Saturday, January 30th, 8 pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Amber Maykut
Saturday, January 30th, 12 pm to 4 pm, $120. Tickets and more info here.

Victorian Hair Art Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Sunday, January 31st, 11 am to 6 PM, $150. Tickets and more info here.
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NEWLY ANNOUNCED EVENTS
The Other Paris: The Shadow Side of 19th Century Paris, Lecture and Book Signing with Luc Sante, Author of Low Life
Wednesday, February 10th, 7 pm, $5. Tickets and more info here.

Insect, Arachnid and Reptile Petting Zoo with NYU Biology Student Aaron Rodriguez
Monday, February 29th, 7pm, $12. Tickets and more info here.

Vanitas, Fleeting Time, A Camera Obscura Workshop and Inquiry with Artist Amy-Claire Huestis
Saturday March 5th,12 pm to 5 pm, $85. Tickets and more info here.

The Cult of Fashion, An Illustrated Lecture with Alexis Karl
Thursday, March 17th, 7 pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

Alchemy and Dream: The Lunar Realm of Alchemy, An Illustrated Lecture with Brian Cotnoir
Monday, April 4th, 7 pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

Save the Date for the Second Annual Morbid Anatomy Museum Gala and Afterparty
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at The Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn). More info here.

Demystifying Shamanism: An Illustrated Presentation with Dr. Stanley Krippner
Thursday, April 14th, 7 pm, $15. Tickets and more info here.

Life After Near Death, An Illustrated Lecture with Debra Diamond
Thursday, April 21st, 7 pm, $5. Tickets and more info here.

Goth 101: A History of the Postpunk and Goth Subculture, 1978 - 1992, An Illustrated Lecture with Andi Harriman
Wednesday, April 27th, 7 pm, $12. Tickets and more info here.

The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains, An Illustrated Lecture with Historian Thomas W. Laqueur, University of California at Berkeley
Monday, May 2nd, 7 pm, $5. Tickets and more info here.
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CONGRESS FOR CURIOUS PEOPLE 2016 IN MADRID, SPAIN
Morbid Anatomy Day of Anatomy and Anthropology
Wednesday, February 3, 5:00pm, Faculty of Medicine (plaza Ramón y Cajal, Madrid) 16 euros. Tickets and more info here.

Madrid in the Baroque Era: A Theatrical and Spectacular City
Thursday, February 4, Equestrian monument of Felipe IV, Plaza de Oriente, 5:00 p.m. 22 euros. Tickets and more info here.

MADRID Strange Phenomena: A Night of Mentalism
Thursday February 4, Calle Santa Ana 6, 10 p.m. 17 euros. Tickets and more infohere.

The Secrets of the National Museum of Natural Sciences
Friday, February 5, Starting point: corresponding to the "tickets" doors in the museum (Calle Jose Gutierrez Abascal 2) door 7:00 p.m. 20 euros. Tickets and more info here.

Special Visit to the XIX century Homeopathic Hospital of "San Jose" and lectures
Eloy Gonzalo Street, 3. 10:30 a.m. Only for guests.

Carnival Gala: Surrealist Masked Ball in the Palace Duarte
Palace Duarte, street Mancebos 5, Palace Opening: Saturday February 6, 9:30 p.m to 2:00 a.m. Tickets and more info here.
Madrid and the Freemasonry
Egyptian Temple of Debod, 11 a.m. 14 euros. Tickets and more info here.
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ALL UPCOMING EVENTS
Here Lies Fluffy: Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, A Final Resting Place: An Illustrated Lecture with Elizabeth Broman
Thursday, February 4th, 2016, 7 pm (lecture will start at 7:15 sharp), $8. Tickets and more info here.

Death is in Our Hearts: Meditations on Death's at Tractional Force, an Illustrated Lecture with Carl Abrahamsson
Friday, February 5th, 7 pm, $12. Tickets and more info here.

Jackalope or Traditional Rabbit Shoulder Mount Taxidermy Class
Saturday, February 6th,12 pm to 6 pm, $250. Tickets and more info here.

The Other Paris: The Shadow Side of 19th Century Paris, Lecture and Book Signing with Luc Sante, author of Low Life
Wednesday, February 10th, 7 pm, $5. Tickets and more info here.

The Flapper Revolution: An Illustrated Lecture With Mel Gordon, Author of Voluptuous Panic
Thursday, February 11th, 7 pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

Horizontal Collaboration: The Erotic World of Paris, 1920-1946 with Mel Gordon, author of Voluptuous Panic, Sponsored by Overland Distillery, Proud Makers of Trinity Absinthe
Friday, February 12th, 7 pm, $12. Tickets and more info here.

If You Feel It, Peel It: 42nd Street Peepshow Films and Beyond programmed by MM Serra and Josh Lewis
Saturday, February 13th, 7 pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

Anthropomorphic Insect Shadowbox Workshop: Valentine Day's Special with Daisy Tainton, formerly Senior Insect Preparator at the American Museum of Natural History
Sunday, February 14th, 1 to 4 pm, $75. Tickets and more info here.

Beggar's Banquet: The History of Sin Eaters: An Illustrated Lecture with Karen Bachmann
Tuesday, February 16th, 7 pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

Midcentury Stereopanorama with Eric Drysdale: Look and see the 1950s in 3-D!
Wednesday, February 17th, 8 pm, $20. Tickets and more info here.

Surrealism and Alchemy: More Than Just a Pretty Picture: An Illustrated Lecture with Brian Cotnoir
February 19th, 7 pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

Mole Mount Taxidermy Workshop with Katie Innamorato
Sunday, February 7th, 12 pm to 6 pm, $250. Tickets and more info here.

Mütter Museum Presents: The Skin She Lived In: Anthropodermic Books at College of Physicians of Philadelphia: Illustrated Lecture by Beth Lander, Introduced and Moderated by Daniel K. Smith
Monday, February 22nd, 7 pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari on 16mm with live music by M.V. Carbon
Wednesday, February 24th, 7 pm, $12. Tickets and more info here.

Morbid Academy Presents: Stalking Weird History: A Conversation with Robert Damon Schneck and Mitch Horowitz
Thursday, February 25th, 7 pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

Fancy Rat Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Saturday, February 27th, 12 pm - 6 pm, $200. Tickets and more info here.

European Starling Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
Sunday, February 28th, 12 pm - 7 pm, $275. Tickets and more info here.

Insect, Arachnid and Reptile Petting Zoo with NYU Biology Student Aaron Rodriguez
Monday, February 29th, 7pm, $12. Tickets and more info here.

Tarot Reading, Palmistry and Astrology with The Tarot Society
Monday, February 29th, 6 pm to 8 pm. Sliding scale. More info here.

From Grand Guignol to the Classic Horror Movies of the 1930s: Elliot Passantino's History of Horror Film, Part 1
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 7 pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

Vanitas, Fleeting Time, A Camera Obscura Workshop and Inquiry with Artist Amy-Claire Huestis
Saturday March 5th,12 pm to 5 pm, $85. Tickets and more info here.

Morbid Anatomy Flea Market at the Bell House
Sunday, March 6th,12 pm to 6 pm (11 am for members). More info here.

The Good Death: An Exploration in Dying in America: An Illustrated Lecture with Ann Neumann
Thursday March 10th, 7pm, $5. Tickets and more info here.

Architecture of Initiation: Alchemy and the Theater of Memory: An Illustrated Lecture with Brian Cotnoir
Friday, March 11th, 7pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

Morbid Academy Presents: The Real Paranormal: A Conversation with Stacy Horn and Mitch Horowitz
Wednesday, March 16th, 7 pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

The Cult of Fashion, An Illustrated Lecture with Alexis Karl
Thursday, March 17th, 7 pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

Katherine Bauer's "Psycho Pussy Slaughter" and other Fatal, Feline Rites and Rituals: Screening with 16mm film and live music!
Wednesday, March 23rd, 7 pm $10. Tickets and more info here.

Alchemy and Dream: The Lunar Realm of Alchemy, An Illustrated Lecture with Brian Cotnoir
Monday, April 4th, 7 pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

Morbid Academy Presents: Tales from the Crypt: A Conversation with Ptolemy Tompkins and Mitch Horowitz
Wednesday, April 6th, 7 pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World: An Illustrated Lecture with David Jaher
Monday, April 11th, 7 pm, $5. Tickets and more info here.

Save the Date for the Second Annual Morbid Anatomy Museum Gala and Afterparty
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at The Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn). More info here.

Atomic Doomsday Battle of the DJs: 78 Records vs. 16mm Film
Wednesday, April 13th, 7 pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

Demystifying Shamanism: An Illustrated Presentation with Dr. Stanley Krippner
Thursday, April 14th, 7 pm, $15. Tickets and more info here.

Bringing Back the Cabinet of Curiosities, Including a Brief and Wondrous History of the Wunderkammer: An Illustrated Lecture with Susan Harlan
Tuesday, April 19th, 7pm, $8. Tickets and more info here.

Life After Near Death, An Illustrated Lecture with Debra Diamond
Thursday, April 21st, 7 pm, $5. Tickets and more info here.

Goth 101: A History of the Postpunk and Goth Subculture, 1978 - 1992, An Illustrated Lecture with Andi Harriman
Wednesday, April 27th, 7 pm, $12. Tickets and more info here.

Murnau's Faust (1926) on 16mm Film With Live Music by Bradford Reed and Geoff Gersh
Friday, April 29th, 7 pm, $12. Tickets and more info here.

The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains, An Illustrated Lecture with Historian Thomas W. Laqueur, University of California at Berkeley
Monday, May 2nd, 7 pm, $5. Tickets and more info here.

Morbid Academy Presents: Things that go Bump, a conversation with Shannon Taggart and Mitch Horowitz
Wednesday, May 18th, 7pm, $10. Tickets and more info here.

Henrick's Congress for Curious People in Madrid, Co-presented by The Morbid Anatomy Museum and Atlas Obscura

Morbid Anatomy is delighted to announce a new, Madrid-based Congress for Curious People, sponsored by Hendrick's Gin and co-presented by The Morbid Anatomy Museum and Atlas Obscura!

Full info follows; All events will have English translation or information provided in English.Hope to see some or our Spain-based readers at one or more of these terrific events!
Henrick's Congress for Curious People in Madrid, Co-presented by The Morbid Anatomy Museum and Atlas Obscura
Dates: Wednesday, February 3 - Sunday, February 7
Times: Variable
Admission: Variable
Hendrick's Gin is pleased to present the "Congress for Curious People" in Madrid, a cultural week from February 3-7 dedicated to discovering the most unusual places in the capital of Spain. This Congress will be directed by Pablo Raijenstein (mentalist and Hendrick's Gin ambassador in Spain) and Felipe Trigo (an Spanish events producer, historian and cultural guide) in collaboration with The Morbid Anatomy Museum and Atlas Obscura.

The Congress will feature special activities and events; walking tours devoted to Madrid during the baroque era and the Masonic influence in Madrid; exclusive visits to museums of natural sciences, medicine and anatomy; and talks by Morbid Anatomy creative director Joanna Ebenstein and Atlas Obscura's co-dirctor Dylan Thuras. This new edition of "Congress" promises to be spectacular with a night of mentalism by Pablo Raijenstein and a carnival gala at the palace Duarte, the "Surrealist Ball", with Lady Bon Bon, the main performer in Kriminal Kabarett.

Following is full is of events with links to find out more.
Morbid Anatomy Day of Anatomy and Anthropology
Wednesday, February 3
https://www.facebook.com/events/1654831934775859/
"MORBID ANATOMY DAY" special visit to the museums of Anatomy and Anthropology of the "Universidad Complutense de Madrid".
Wednesday, February 3, 5:00pm, Faculty of Medicine (plaza Ramón y Cajal, Madrid)

With the collaboration of Joanna Ebenstein, creative director in the Morbid Anatomy Museum from New York. The day will include a combined tour and visit to two museums with priceless jewels.First, we will visit the Museum of Anatomy "Javier Puerta" where we will meet the director, Fermin Viejo. This collection is very important for its spectacular series of wax figures from the 18th century, commissioned by the Royal College of Surgery ("Real Colegio de Cirugía de San Carlos"). Later, we will continue the day at the Museum of Medical Anthropology, Forensics, and Forensic Paleopathology "Reverte Coma", located in the same Faculty of Medicine. Guided by a specialist, we will discover the secrets of a true cabinet of curiosities created in the twentieth century. Among countless examples, we will see an impressive collection of Egyptian mummies, vestiges of evolutionary anthropology and ritual body modification.

Important notice: it is strictly forbidden to take pictures in both museums.
Madrid in the Baroque Era: A Theatrical and Spectacular city
Thursday, February 4
https://www.facebook.com/events/1525048727794782/
Starting and schedule: Equestrian monument of Felipe IV, Plaza de Oriente. 5:00 p.m.

In this itinerary between the Plaza de Oriente and Calle Toledo we relive an era, the Baroque, in which theatricality and spectacle were omnipresent in all facets of daily life, as a sign of artistic, royal and ecclesiastical patronage. Patronage was also mass propaganda. Discover those passages in the history of Old Madrid and the first Bourbons in which the illusory, wonder and extravagance were present in the capital, where the streets and squares were used as true scenarios.The tour begins with a special visit to the Royal Monastery "de la Encarnación" to contemplate the fabulous collection of relics, one of the most comprehensive in the world, and also the treasure with the blood of San Pantaleon. The route continues through the old town, where we will focus on other subjects like alchemy and cabinets of curiosities, the symbolism of the Puerta del Sol, theatrical performances, Inquisition trials and Carnival splendor in the era of the Habsburgs. We end our tour with a visit to the Institute of San Isidro (former Imperial College) where we discuss the relationship between the Jesuits and the Baroque culture of spectacle.
 
Strange Phenomena: A Night of Mentalism
Thursday, February 4
https://www.facebook.com/events/1512179665751602/

Starting point and time: Calle Santa Ana 6. 10 p.m.
We are pleased to announce "Madrid Strange Phenomena", the first show of mentalism that takes place in a space where strange events have occurred.
With the help of those attending this evening, the mentalist Paul Raijenstein will evoke one of the most shocking events in the history of Madrid: the tragical fire that destroyed the "Novedades" theater in 1929.

This experience, with a capacity of 30 people per session, takes place in the antiques shop "Santa y Señora", the old emergency exit in the former theater. Attendees will discover that they are also a key instrument to clarify the strange events that occur in this unusual space. The show mixes collective hypnosis and mentalism recreating a seance that will leave the audience speechless

This experience was released in January 2015 and has enjoyed unprecedented success for the unique characteristics of the proposal.
The Secrets of the National Museum of Natural Sciences
Friday, February 5
https://www.facebook.com/events/525895254240681/
Starting point: corresponding to the "tickets" doors in the museum (Calle Jose Gutierrez Abascal 2) door 7:00 p.m.
For the first time, we present a unique and exclusive visit to the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, where a specialized guide will reveal the best kept secrets inside an institution that holds millions of pieces invisible to the general public. We will have a different view of the museum, highlighting the art of taxidermy, the incredible journeys of naturalists and the surprising story of the most emblematic museum specimens. This is the oldest natural sciences museum in our country, with its origin in the Royal Cabinet of Natural History founded in the eighteenth century. Under this cabinet we can admire a restricted public basement where a prodigious collection of species of mammals and birds is stored. This event will have a similar character to the "Morbid Anatomy Museum" special tour organized in the "American Museum of Natural History" in New York.
Special Visit to the XIX century Homeopathic Hospital of "San Jose" and Lectures
Saturday, February 6
https://www.facebook.com/events/1541395092838627/Starting point and time: Eloy Gonzalo Street, 3. 10:30 a.m. Only for guests. Send an e-mail to: curiouscongressmadrid@gmail.com
In the XIX century Homeopathic Hospital of "San Jose" will take place the lecture of the main speakers at the "Hendrick's Congress for Curious People". Previously, with the help of a guide, we will discover the rooms inside the Homeopathic Hospital of "San Jose" as well as the palace of the Marquis del Salado, both great examples of architecture of the first decade of the Spanish Restoration (between 1874 and 1883). Through the small Museum of Homeopathy we discover the origin and practices of this controversial discipline of medicine with many supporters and detractors from the eighteenth century until today.

Then, in the building of the Hospital we will begin our series of lectures with the following speakers:

Joanna Ebenstein, director of "Morbid Anatomy Museum," a New York institution dedicated to the study of anatomical and funerary art. She will tell us the exciting process of creating the museum and her journeys around the world in search of the sublime and the macabre.

Dylan Thuras, director of "Atlas Obscura," the largest virtual compendium of unusual places and secrets around the globe. We will talk about the incredible career of "Atlas Obscura" and the forthcoming book edited by this institution, to be published in mid-2016.

Hendrick's Gin cocktails will be served.
CARNIVAL GALA: Surrealist Masked Ball in the Palace Duarte
Saturday February 6
https://www.facebook.com/events/1541959866115116/
Starting point and time: Palace Duarte, street Mancebos 5
Palace Opening: Saturday February 6 9:30 p.m.. Closing: 2:00 a.m.
Enjoy with us the most unusual and extravagant Carnival in Madrid inside the Palace Duarte, where the gala of the "Hendrick's Congress for Curious People" will take place.Inspired by the memorable "surrealist balls" organized by Salvador Dali in Paris and New York, our Masquerade show will feature Lady Bon Bon, one of the best artists of cabaret and burlesque in our country famous for her performances in "Kriminal Kabarett" more venues in Europe. The "Surrealist Ball" also includes a brief theatrical tour dramatized to discover the history behind the walls of the Palace Duarte, a mansion built in the XVII century. The evening will be accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack (opera, classical, swing revival, lounge, exotika) and a Dj session (80s, new wave, electro vintage).

Dresscode welcome: Any stylish and transgressive attire inspired by the past will be welcome. For the more adventurous, we suggest constumes inspired in surrealist artists or designers: Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Otto Dix, Paul Delvaux, Schiaparelli, Alexander McQueen ... More suggestions: 1920-1930 fashion, cabaret, dandies, feathers, masks, animal kingdom, African tribes, Orient Express, fetish-glam ... Use your imagination and surprise us!
Included with the entry: Hendrick's Gin cocktail in the palace.
Madrid and Freemasonry
Sunday February 7
https://www.facebook.com/events/163737973998341/
Starting and schedule: Egyptian Temple of Debod, 11 a.m.
A surprising and complete itinerary where we will show you the history of Freemasonry and its privileged relationship with Madrid through politics, society, culture and the arts. We will begin our route in the Egyptian temple of Debod to discuss the myths about the origin of Freemasonry and the meaning of its symbols. We will continue our walk through the Plaza of Spain and the Plaza de Oriente and the neighborhoods of the historic center, ending in front of the Congress of Deputies. We will speak about numerous aspects of Freemasonry in Madrid: their first steps in the eighteenth century and its boom in the Napoleonic era, the last persecutions of the Inquisition, its height and splendor from the revolution of 1868, the controversial history of this institution under various regimes of the twentieth century and his return after 1978. An exclusive opportunity to rediscover a key institution in the history of Europe that often changed the course of art, science, architecture and philosophy.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Morbid Anatomy 2016 Gala SAVE THE DATE


Save the Date for the Second Annual Morbid Anatomy Museum Gala and Afterparty
Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Location: The Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn)

We hope you can join us for a special evening of dinner, drinks, performances & special guests, an auction of one-of-a-kind art, objects, and experiences, and much more! Watch this space for more information!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Art in the Age of the Stereo Realist 3D Camera System: Guest Post by Amy Slonaker

Following, Morbid Anatomy Museum Board Member Amy Slonaker shares her experience with a session of "Midcentury Stereopanorama with Eric Drysdale," in which attendees explore a virtual 1950s America via 3D stereoviews. This event is a passion project of Eric Drysdale--writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show--who has collected a vast collection of these slides which illustrate the mundane (a department store floor by floor) to the spectacular (what appear to be strange stag parties), all in startling and oddly magical 3D.

Following is Amy's post; you can experience this for yourself at our next interations of the popular event on January 27 or February 17.
In his 1936 essay Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin writes, “that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art.” Clearly he’d never tried a Stereo Realist 3D Camera System. If he had, his whole thesis might be different since there is a huge amount of aura inside one these little antique devices. The 3D image quality is truly amazing. It creates an uncanny, hyper-realism beyond HD television.

Lucky for us, Eric Drysdale (writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show) collects vintage Stereo Realist 3D devices and the amazing images that go inside. He will provide each attendee their own 3D Realist device with a specially curated set of slides to enjoy. Eric will be on hand to provide all the historical and technical information to enhance the experience.

This event is always a fun group exploration of retro technology where everyone shares reactions and insights.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The English Disease: The Health Education Film As Nazi Propaganda; Guest Post by Michael Sappol, National Library of Medicine

One of the many films in the vast collection of the National Library of Medicine is the one above: Die englische Krankheit (The English Disease), a circa 1941Nazi health education film about rickets. Below is a post by Michael Sappol--historian at the National Library of Medicineauthor of A Traffic of Dead Bodies, and curator of Dream Anatomy. It was originally posted on their wonderful Circulating Now blog.
Deformed unfortunates trudge back and forth, in a darkly-lit procession, over a map of Great Britain as the soundtrack sounds anxious notes of alarm. That extravagantly horrific scene introduces the Die englische Krankheit (The English Disease), a 13-minute black-and-white health education film, produced during wartime, under the supervision of Nazi authorities, by Universum Film AG (“UFA”), the largest German film studio of the time. After a censorship board approved it as suitable for adults and children, it premiered in Berlin in April of 1941.

Made under conditions of mass mobilization—at a time when Great Britain and the Third Reich were battling fiercely over the skies of England and Germany and at sea in the Mediterranean—Die englische Krankheit is an odd specimen, an eccentric example of the wayward features that sometimes accrued to instructional and health education films in the Nazi period. With its peculiar, almost grafted-on, opening—strident Nazi propaganda pumped up with gloomy lighting, disturbing music, and a scene of grotesque deformity—for a few moments, but only a few, Die englische Krankheit looks like it will dwell in the tonal register of the UFA and Universal Pictures scary horror films that were so popular in the 1920s and 30s. (Great Britain, the enemy, as the site and spreader of monstrous disfigurement).

But then it settles down to do the work that health films typically do: show the treatment and prevention of disease. In the case of Die englische Krankheit that means shifting from horror to animated scientific diagrams, x-ray images and sunny scenes of children playing outdoors: the “English Disease” was rickets, a disease that could be easily prevented by a regular diet of nutritious food, vitamin D supplements, and plentiful exposure to sun.

Die englische Krankheit can be seen on NLM’s Medical Movies on the Web, along with an essay by film scholar, Anja Laukötter (Max Planck Institute, Berlin). Leonhard Link supplied the German and English subtitles. You can find out more about it here.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Morbid Anatomy Museum Seeking Part Time Retail/Visitor Services Associate

Morbid Anatomy is now seeking a part time Retail/Visitor Services Associate. The job will be approximately 20-30 hours a week at $10 an hour. If you are interested, please send a resume and a brief paragraph describing your interest to cristina [at] morbidanatomymuseum.org with "Retail Associate Application" in subject line. 

Responsibilities:
  • Welcoming visitors to the museum
  • Ringing up sales and museum admissions
  • Tidying the space
  • Answering the phone
  • Side projects as directed by the office manager
  • Sales
  • Cleaning
  • Answering visitor questions
  • Customer service
  • Keeping inventory of supplies
  • Updating mailing list
  • Opening and closing the museum and store
  • Working events 
  • Shipping and handling of online orders
Qualifications:
  • Retail/shopkeeping experience
  • Neat and tidy in work space
  • Friendly and outgoing
  • Interested in the Morbid Anatomy Museum and the topics we cover

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Memento Mori Crypts of Loreta, Prague: Guest Post by Eric Huang, Morbid Anatomy Foreign Corespondent

In the following guest post, Morbid Anatomy foreign corespondent Eric Huang reports on the memento mori-themed crypt of Prague's Loreto Church. All photos are his own. For more, see this previous post from 2012, or come visit the full catalog in the Morbid Anatomy Library!
A remarkable discovery was made in 2011 when the crypt at the Loreto Church in Prague was opened for the first time in centuries. What they discovered was a burial chamber ornately decorated in black and white memento mori frescos from 1664 created by an unknown artist.

The crypt is not open to the public, but a recreation of the main chamber is on display at the Loreta Praha Museum. The exhibit entryway is flanked by puti and curtained like a sideshow attraction in a red light district. A volunteer told me the curtains are there as a warning to families as the exhibit proved unsuitable for certain families. Indeed, two little girls dragged their mother out of the curtains, screaming whilst running away just as we approached!

The replica is to-scale. The room is dimly lit and quite narrow with low ceilings. Skeletons, hourglasses, and Catholic allegories depicting the passage of time and the resurrection adorn every wall. The few lights in the room serve to highlight the more macabre imagery, rather than replicate how the chamber would’ve historically appeared when lit for a burial or a requiem mass. It’s all very atmospheric – less accurate than theatrical. Gone is a room for somber, Catholic reflection and devotion. In its place is a wonderful sideshow of sorts. No wonder the little girls found the exhibit too scary!

The crypt exhibit alone is worth visiting the Loreta Praha, but you must wander through the complex to see the sacred treasures on display, in particular a mummified foot (see bottom image) encased in a casket that forms the base of a crystal reliquary cross from the early 18th century.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Charles Dellschau (1830 - 1923): American Visionary: By Curator in Residence Stephen Romano

Stephen Romano is the Morbid Anatomy Museum curator in residence; he is also the man behind our recent wonderful “Opus Hypnagogia" exhibit (New York Times here) in which he showcased a number of works by American visionary artist Charles Dellschau (1830 - 1923).

Stephen is now exhibiting a large collection of Dellschau's idiosyncratic watercolor and collage artworks--a few of which can be seen above--at his gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Following is a guest post about the show and the artist by Romano. You can visit the show--entitled Charles A. A. Dellschau (1830 - 1923) American Visionary"-- through February 15, 2016; more on that here.
According to well respected art writer Tom Patterson’s Raw Vision Magazine review of the extensive monograph I produced with Marquand Books and distributed by DAP Artbooks, “Charles Dellschau is widely acknowledged as an Outsider master in the same league as Adolph Wolfli, Henry Darger and Martin Ramirez.” The first exhibition of Dellschau’s works was mounted in a Manhattan Gallery in May of 2000. Since then Dellschau has been included in group exhibitions at the High Museum in Atlanta, The American Folk Art Museum, White Chapel Gallery, London, The Menill Foundation of Houston Texas, The Pinacoteca Agneili of Turin, and The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore among others.

While we know very little about Dellschau’s life, records indicate he immigrated to the USA in 1849 as a political refugee from Prussia, and upon his arrival he drifted from Galveston through Houston, where he spent most of his life, finding work as a butcher and raising a family and losing most of them to illnesses. Dellschau fought in The Civil War, and upon his discharge settled into Houston, and at the age of 68 began what would obsessively occupy him for his remaining years until 1923.  In those year, secluded in the back room of his niece’s house and living off the generosity of his decedents, Dellschau produced close to 5000 watercolor and collage artworks, of which approximately 3500 have survived. These watercolors were hand sewn into 12 massive volumes and sometime in the mid 1960’s were discarded and made their way to the dump, only to be immediately rescued by a picker named Fred Washington. They later found their way into the collection of the Menil Foundation who, in 1969, exhibited Dellschau’s works in a group show at Rice University. The remaining works were collected by a local UFO enthusiast by the name of Pete Navarro, who obsessively studied them for 20 years, making detailed field notes which are in their own right beautiful works of art.  The remaining Dellschaus in Navarro’s collection were eventually either gifted to local museums or sold to private dealers who introduced them to the mainstream art world to wide initial acclaim, including feature length articles in several art magazines as well as the New York Times. 

Dellschau’s earliest sketches from 1898 describe how a letter to the editor in the Houston Press prompted him to begin these memoirs, in which the author claimed that his design of “a perfect Airship,” that would, if ever constructed, successfully navigate "the air in any direction at will of operator... most emphatically end all wars, [and] be the means of disbanding the vast standing armies of the world, for one ship alone, in the cover of night could destroy any army by using culminate of mercury or any high explosive.” For the next 25 years, Dellschau argues via his artworks that the many airships of the Sonora Aero Club were superior in design to that  proposed by the author W.H. Brown. 
The artworks themselves, made between 1898 and 1921, tell the story of a group of men who lived in the Sonora dessert in California between 1854 and 1859 during the gold rush, and met every Friday evening as a drinking club calling themselves “The Sonora Aero Club.” Their mission was to discuss designs of the very first navigable air crafts which were powered by a secret anti gravity substance called “Suppa.” Dellschau was the Aero Club’s appointed draftsman.

But was Dellschau ever really in Sonora? Did the Sonora Aero Club ever actually exist? Despite exhaustive searches of historical records, there is no definitive proof either way.  Dellschau’s art is what the cultural anthropologist and one of the greatest art writers of the 21st century Thomas McEviley refers to as “Charles A.A. Dellschau’s Aporetic Archive.” In the monograph of Dellschau, McEvilley, in his final published essay, writes: 
One of several major questions surrounding the secrets of Dellschau has to do with the historical value of the account given in his various formats—the three volumes of memoirs and the twelve known books of Plates. Attempts have been made to find other records or evidences of the Sonora Aero Club, or Peter Mennis or George Newell or any other character of the many named, but the results have not been satisfying… The idea that Dellschau’s yarn is fiction somehow does not resolve the issue, since fiction has many modes. Is it fiction in the way a work of art is fiction? Or the way an outright lie is fiction? Or the way confusion may produce a kind of fiction? Different opinions have been registered on all this. And after considering them all, one must acknowledge that the evidence simply doesn’t provide a clear answer to this question. It is one of many questions that just have to be lived with as questions— or ignored.
Some will try to escape the dilemma by asserting that a question that does not have an answer is not a real question. Question and answer are a mutually dependent pair, like yes and no or true and false or up and down. In such a pair neither proposition can be meaningful in a universe where the other is not also meaningful. The idea that, lacking an answer, one should live with the question as a question, like an acquaintance whose name one does not know, may seem frustrating, but at least one major artist, James Lee Byars, has hypothesized the idea of Question; his oeuvre is posited on a universe in which Question rules, which he feels will be more open and creative than one in which Answer rules. Question, after all, is wide open; it could be pointing to anything in the universe. But Answer is closed, it appears as one thing and continues to do so.

Can it be that accepting a question as a question is inwardly, hiddenly, a kind of answer? Or is it just a kind of shrug? Dellschau’s twelve massive books of words and pictures may be no more than an old man’s lonely daydreams. They are pretty daydreams, which imply a pretty question mark, pretty and somehow deep, as one question behind the Aeros is the choice between ascent and descent. The breath-like striped spheres floating by may remind one of a line from a poem of e.e. cummings: “In Just-/ spring when the world is mud-/luscious the little/lame balloonman/whistles far and wee.” The little striped spheres float silently onward. What is their destination?”
Charles Dellschau (1830 - 1923): American Visionary continues through Feb 15 2016 at Stephen Romano Gallery in Brooklyn.  www.romanoart.com

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from Krampus and Morbid Anatomy

Merry Christmas from Krampus--St Nicolas' Eastern European, cloven hooved, birch-switch bearing sidekick--and all of us at Morbid Anatomy. The Museum is closed today, but will be open regular hours tomorrow, December 26.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Death in the Churches Malta: Guest Post by Eric Huang, Morbid Anatomy Foreign Corespondent

 
In the following guest post, Morbid Anatomy foreign corespondent Eric Huang reports on the graphic depictions of death in the churches of Malta! All photos are also his own!
Malta is a devoutly Catholic nation: a Mediterranean island between Sicily and North Africa. Saint John’s Co-Cathedral in the capital city, Valletta, is the crown jewel of Catholic Malta. Built in the 16th century by the Knights of Malta, a Catholic military order whose sole mission was to protect the Holy Lands from so-called ‘infidels’, the cathedral is a spectacular assembly of monuments exalting powerful clergymen.

Death’s heads abound - as do graphic representations of human skeletons, used as motifs in borders, frames, and accents. Most striking, however, are the grave markers of the Knights of Malta themselves. All are intricate marble-inlay mosaics with diverse depictions of Death alongside Catholic angels, crucifixes, and prayers. The Oratory also features two Caravaggio paintings: The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist and a memento mori painting of Saint Jerome.

Malta is well worth a visit for the sacred art and body parts of saints scattered across various churches and museums, including the former residence of the Grand Inquisitor. The high baroque décor and Death’s head imagery evoke the horror and beauty of the Catholic church like nowhere else.