Before the Morbid Anatomy Museum suddenly ceased operations in Gowanus, we stopped by its holiday flea market at Bell House and met Wilder Duncan, who, among other things, conducted “skeleton workshops” at the museum. The artist and rogue taxidermist was just one member of “a community that gathered regularly to celebrate those strange, liminal ideas that led to the unexpected places where death, beauty, science and spirit meet,” as Evan Michelson, co-owner of Obscura Oddities and Antiques, put it in a eulogy for Morbid Anatomy. Duncan describes his work– including his “queer deer” series and his half-squirrel, half-piranha “squirranha”– as “a combination of morbid and humorous.” Watch our video and you’ll see why.
Sadly, the Morbid Anatomy Museum has shuffled off this mortal coil. The Gowanus museum dedicated to exploring “death, beauty and that which falls between the cracks” announced in an email that it has ceased operations after two and a half years. At least it left a beautiful corpse.
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.
As inevitable as your student loan bills, Valentine’s Day is once again around the corner. If you’re inclined to celebrate it ironically rather than romantically, fret not: this is, after all, a city of misanthropes. At these Valentine’s weekend events, there’ll be nary a chocolate heart in sight.
It’s fitting this institution of esoteric knowledge, that has amassed a loyal community of followers who share a gothy disposition and twisted curiosities, plans to celebrate the first year inside the Gowanus home where it’s been pumping out creepy programming and hosting deathly exhibitions almost nonstop. Care to party with them? Step right up to the Festival of Arcane Knowledge and ensuing Devil’s Masquerade. Stick around for the real party when the Devil’s Masquerade takes over the building, complete with costume contests, DJs, a special cocktail, and hopefully dancing, unless of course everyone’s dead tired from the day’s lectures.
For this ghoulish installment of Why That Tat, we crashed an early Day of the Dead party at the Morbid Anatomy Museum. Laetitia
This is a pair conjoined skeleton siamese twins, each holding snakes. They are battling each other. It’s my Day of the Dead 2009 souvenir! I have always been interested in medical history and anatomy. When I was attending university in Paris, I use to take my lunch breaks in this old anatomy museum that had medical specimens like two headed babies and fetuses. The specimens had this bizarre connection to the history of health and, I don’t know, there’s something really special about them. Some people collect them, and I can’t afford them. And since I have been traveling a lot, I can’t take a lot with me, but tattoos I can take with me everywhere I go. More →
All subjects you can contemplate at this week’s thrilling selection of readings and talks.
Friday, September 5
We, The Outsiders Opening Reception We, The Outsiders is an art exhibition that explores several perplexing questions: “Can it be said that art has a consciousness of its own? And if such a consciousness were independent of us, where would it place us in relation to itself?” I have no idea what that means, but I do know that the exhibition revolves around a gigantic egg—which probes, like the classic chicken-and-the-egg conundrum (I prosaically assume), where consciousness begins and ends when it comes to art. More →
First things first: if you haven’t been to Morbid Anatomy Museum yet, you should probably go ASAP. It’s a hotbed of macabre romance, and you’re missing out. Now that that’s settled, why not go along and learn things whilst perusing the petrified remains? Next week, author and poet Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz will be relating the story of Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter, the founder of Philidelphia’s heralded Mütter Museum—arguably America’s finest museum of medical oddities. Mütter was a brilliant young surgeon whose compassion-based philosophies were revolutionary for his time, and whose enthusiasm for collecting paved the way for the museum erected in his name. O’Keefe Aptowicz is a prolific poet and author; Dr. Mutter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine is her second foray into non-fiction.