Get your “disgusted-but-intrigued” face ready: the Morbid Anatomy Museum, the ultimate haven for the morbidly curious, is putting on a new exhibition. The Gowanus center for all things bizarre has featured enough deathly art and grotesque miscellany to last any one of us a lifetime. So let’s just assume that you’re dead. But has Morbid’s “temple of the weird” gone to the dogs? Apparently so. And the cats. And birds. And undoubtedly dozens of other long-dead animals.
The new exhibition Taxidermy: Art, Science and Immortality opens Friday and will showcase a wide range of dead pets and rare taxidermied animals, including the great argus pheasant, a four-tusked Walrus and even now-extinct birds like the passenger pigeon and health hen. The exhibition, says its curator, J.D. Powe, explores the bond between man and animal—and especially how that it’s-complicated relationship has changed since the Victorian era, when taxidermy really took off.
“The objects on display here are witness to the fact that one era’s cultural norm often becomes incomprehensible over time,” Powe writes. “What never changes is the strange, persistent, uniquely human desire to simultaneously destroy and immortalize those things we seek to understand, and those things we love.”
The new show, which runs from August 12 to August 28, is part one of a two-part exhibition, the second of which, “Walter Potter’s The Kittens’ Wedding and Friends: The Art of Victorian Anthropomorphic Taxidermy,” will be on display starting September 1. The titular kittens are one of the many eerily human-like figures in the second show, which threatens to throw the weird factor into the Uncanny Valley, i.e. well beyond stuffed dead- stuff.
The dropped-dead are dropping in on Friday not with a funeral dirge, but with a party at the Museum. We picture the whole thing going down like some bizarro version of the Met Gala, only here visitors are encouraged to gawk at the long-expired carcasses as art objects as opposed to being forced to tolerate dead things walking around on hind-legs in their midst whilst wearing ball gowns and writing checks. The event, which is open to the public, will also have cocktails and music, courtesy of DJ-in-residence Friese Undine.
Taxidermy: Art, Science and Immortality opens Friday August 12, 8 pm at the The Morbid Anatomy Museum: tickets, $25.