Goodbye from Observatory

When Observatory was founded in early 2009, it was intended to be a space where art and science, history and curiosity, magic and nature cross-pollinated in strange and wonderful new ways.  On any given day, a visitor to our Gowanus space might have seen a lecture about death, heard an electronic cello performance, attended a class in witchcraft, watched a zombie film, viewed a Lovecraftian art show, or been privy to poetry about clouds.  Together, we built a warm and eclectic community of folks who loved to learn and to celebrate the odd and the otherworldly.

All good things must come to an end, however, and Observatory’s time has come to say farewell.  Those of us who ran this space feel equal parts bittersweetness about formally disbanding, and excitement about our individual projects – some of which involve mutations and collaborations between several of our members.

An endeavor like this could not have happened without a great deal of support.  We’d like to thank you, first and foremost, for your interest in our peculiar venture, and for attending our many events over the years.  You’ve been a truly tremendous audience, and we’ve been fortunate to get to know many of you personally.  We’re also grateful to our myriad presenters, teachers, and artists who graced our space with their knowledge and talents.  And we are very appreciative of the many volunteers who donated their time and enthusiasm to us, day after day.  You will all be missed at 543 Union St.

We also wish to give a hearty thank you to Proteus Gowanus, who oversaw Observatory’s efforts, and without whom we could not have done all that we did.  Gratitude goes to Sasha Chavchavadze and Tammy Pittman, especially.

As for current and former members of Observatory, here’s how to find out what we’re each up to now:

Joanna Ebenstein: Morbid Anatomy Museum and Morbid Anatomy blog (Join the Morbid Anatomy mailing list by clicking here)

Michelle Enemark: Atlas Obscura and animation (Join the Atlas Obscura mailing list by clicking here)

Ethan Gould: Fabricoscope and artwork

Pam Grossman:  Esoteric art events, Phantasmaphile blog, and Abraxas Journal (Join Pam’s mailing list by clicking here)

Wythe Marschall: Writing

Gerry Newland: Illustration and The Thigh-Highs

Salvador Olguin: Borderline Projects

Herbert Pfostl: Blind Pony Books and Paper Graveyard

Shannon Taggart: Photography and Programmer in Residence, Morbid Anatomy Museum

Dylan Thuras: Atlas Obscura

James Walsh: Natural history art works

We look forward to seeing you in the aether and elsewhere.

Thank you for a marvelous five years,

The Observatory crew
August 2014



August 2, 3, 9, 16, 17 & 30: Spirit Art Symposium: A Series of Free Lectures in Lily Dale, NY
August 2: The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry : Workshop with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
August 3: She Sees Visions: The Magical Female in Western Art with Pam Grossman  ***Offsite at Spirit Art Gallery in Lily Dale, NY
August 3: Anthropomorphic Mouse (One or Two Headed!) Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman
August 7: Demonically Possessed Cats: Illustrated lecture with Dr. Paul Koudounaris
August 23: Fancy Chicken Taxidermy Class with Taxidermist in Residence Divya Anantharaman


September 11: Industrial Ladies : An Illustrated Lecture by Evan Michelson


October 25:  Witch Pictures: Female Magic and Transgression in Western Art with Pam Grossman  4:30-5:30pm ***Offsite in London, UK as part of I:MAGE at the Warburg Institute Day pass to full day of lectures, 10am-9pm, is £60.00 and available here
October 26:
Halloween: The Curious Story of America’s Most Horrible Holiday: Illustrated Lecture by Lesley Bannatyne, author of Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History
October 30: Monsters on the Brain: A Natural History of Horror: Illustrated lecture with Stephen T. Asma
October 31- November 4:
Muerte en Mexico: Special Field Trip to Mexico for Day of the Dead, October 31 – November 4 (must reserve by July 15):
 A 4-day trip to Mexico City and the city of Oaxaca curated, organized and guided by Mexican writer and scholar Salvador Olguín