Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

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Created by a student of Susan Jeiven’s Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class

The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
A series of classes and workshops instructing students in arcane, traditional, taxidermatological or anatomically related studio and conceptual art techniques.

Taxidermy and Animal Preparations:

Arcane Knowledge

Intellectual Trappings for the Arts

Fine Art Technique

Proposals
If you are interested in proposing a class as part of this series, please email morbidanatomy [at] gmail.com.

Vanitas Drawing Class with Classically Trained Artist Lado Pochkhua

vanitas

Top image: Still-Life with a Skull, "Vanitas" by Philippe de Champaigne (1602–1674); Bottom image: Skeleton from the Morbid Anatomy Library who will be featured in our Vanitas compositions

Drawing class with Proteus Gowanus Artist in Residence Lado Pochkhua featuring real human skeleton
Date: 6 Mondays, January 9th through February 13th
(Jan. 9, Jan. 16, Jan. 23, Jan. 30, Feb. 6 & Feb. 13)
Time: 7:30-10:00 PM
Admission: $110 (classes can also be taken individually on a drop-in basis for $20 per class)
*** This class has a 10 person size limit; Please RSVP for full course at morbidanatomy [at] gmail.com
This class is part of the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

Vanitas is a genre of still-life painting that flourished in the Netherlands in the early 17th century. A vanitas painting contains collections of objects symbolic of the inevitability of death and the transience and vanity of earthly achievements and pleasures, exhorting the viewer to consider mortality and to repent.

In this class, Lado Pochkhua, an accomplished classically trained artist (see following bio) from Eastern Europe and artist in residence at our sister space Proteus Gowanus will, using a variety of artifacts drawn from The Morbid Anatomy Library, teach students to create and draw their own “vanitas” compositions. The main star of said Vanitas composition will be the genuine human skeleton recently donated to the library, which you can see in the bottom photograph.

The ultimate goal of the class will be not only the creation of this particular drawing, but also understanding of the principles of classical drawing. The instructor will also share historical images throughout the course.

No previous drawing experience necessary; all levels are welcome!

MATERIALS
Please bring with you to class:

  • One drawing pad at least 18″ X 20″ with a firm back; paper Fabriano or Arches, or Strathmore 400
  • Pencil: HB, 2B, 4B, simple graphite pencils, (no charcoal !!!)
  • Eraser

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Lado Pochkhua
was born in Sukhumi, Georgia in 1970. He received his MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Tbilisi State Art Academy in Georgia in 2001. He currently divides his time between New York and Tbilisi, Georgia.

Selected Exhibitions:

  • 2011   “Works from the Creamer Street Studio,” at the Literature Museum, Tbilisi Georgia  (solo show)
  • 2010    “Paradise ” at Proteus Gowanus, New York
  • 2009    “Prague Biennale 4,” Georgian pavilion
  • 2009    “The Art of returning Home,” Arsi Gallery, Tbilisi Georgia (solo show)
  • 2008    Gardens, Ships, and Lessons, K. Petrys Ház Gallery, Budapest, Hungary (solo show) Exhibition of Georgian Artists, Festival OFF EUROPA ditorei Gallerie NBL, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2004    Artists of Georgia, Georgian Embassy, London, UK
  • 2003    Curriculum Vitae: a retrospective of 20th century Georgian art, Caravasla Tbilisi History Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia, Waiting for the Barbarians, Gallery Club 22, Tbilisi, Georgia (solo show)
  • 2001     21 Georgian Artists, UNESCO, Paris, France
  • 1998    Magical Geometry, TMS Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia (solo show)

Para-Academia #6: I Are Cyborg: Cyberstuff, Design, and the Great Body Remix

iarecyborg1A multimedia talk on the fiction of cyborgs with artist Ethan Gould
Date: Thursday, December 8
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: FREE! But we ask a suggested donation of $5 to help us keep Observatory’s doors open
Presented by the Hollow Earth Society and The Public School New York

[TARGET AQUIRED] {BEGIN CHARMING DESCRIPTION} >#2355> Artist Ethan Gould presents a multimedia talk on the wide-ranging design ethos of the classic science fiction trope, the CYBORG: a fictional and widely disseminated pop-melding of mechanics and human biology whose quiet shadow, the field of cybernetics, has totally transformed our world and ourselves.

The birth and weird intersections of these two ideas and their super-strong, steel-crushing grip on culture is explored in art, fiction, science, movies, and popular design, interspersed with excerpts from a lifetime of the artist’s own work, some of it dating back to elementary school and quite embarrassing!

These piles of entertaining data are used to launch much larger questions: We set out on a line of inquiry debating the separations between fiction and fact, language and object, and the sheepish nightmares and hopeful possibilities that accompany a body-as-bricolage, merged with streams of data, capable of great and terrible feats.

Class readinghttp://observatoryroom.org/files/2011/11/cyborgcourse.pdf

Ethan Gould is an artist, curator, and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating from the University of Rochester with a double degree in English and film studies and a concentration in brain and cognitive sciences, he obviously immediately began working as a puppeteer. Since then he has worked as museum program developer and illustrator and is currently a fine artist.

He is the co-founder of the Hollow Earth Society and a member of Observatory. With the Society, he has co-created the Suspicious… series of books including Suspicious Anatomy and Suspicious Zoology. With fellow HES co-founder Wythe Marschall, he will be the artist-in-residence at Elsewhere in April, 2012. He is currently working a corpus of retrobiomorphic head multimedia, which seems about right.

***

The Para-Academia & Theory Fiction Series
Ongoing workshops co-produced by the Public School New York and the Hollow Earth Society

A Shadow Genealogy of the Ivory Tower/Producing the Unwriteable

The para is the “alongside,” that which comments on the official or normative. While academics debate the finer points of Shakespeare and Kant, para-academics aggregate around shadow-commentators whose works do not so much categorize (striate) and enlighten (bring light into) difficult terrain, but produce that terrain, creating obscure spaces and nebulous discourses that are immune to traditional academic approaches.

Blogs, speculative medievalisms, Cyclonopedia, Charles Fort, teratology, Deleuzean-everything, print-on-demand—these and other tentacles of a polycephalic (many-headed) para-academia have entwined to produce an addendum and, finally, an ultimatum to established disciplines and practices.

We will explore these emerging ideas and modes of expression through a series of discussions and writing workshops, with audio available after each session.

Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Susan Jeiven: Back by Popular Demand

generalDate 1: Monday, December 12 (SOLD OUT)
Date 2: Tuesday, January 10 (SOLD OUT)
Date 3: Tuesday, January 24
(SOLD OUT)
Date 4: Tuesday, February 14 (special Valentine’s Day theme) (SOLD OUT)
Date 5: Tuesday, February 21 (SOLD OUT)
Time: 7 PM-11 PM
Admission: $60
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
***All sold out; send email to
morbidanatomy [at] gmail.com to be added to mailing list
This class is part of the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

Anthropomorphic taxidermy–the practice of mounting and displaying taxidermied animals as if they were humans or engaged in human activities–was a popular art form during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The best known practitioner of the art form is British taxidermist Walter Potter who displayed his pieces–which included such elaborate tableaux as The Death of Cock Robin, The Kitten Wedding, and The Kitten Tea Party–in his own museum of curiosities.

On Tuesday November 29th, please join Morbid Anatomy and taxidermist, tattoo artist and educator Susan Jeiven for a beginners class in anthropomorphic taxidermy. All materials–including a mouse for each student–will be provided, and each class member will leave at the end of the day with their own anthropomorphic taxidermied mouse. Students are invited to bring any miniature items with which they might like to dress or decorate their new friend; some props and miniature clothing will also be provided by the teacher. A wide variety of sizes and colors of mice will be available.

No former taxidermy experience is required.

Also, some technical notes:

  • We use NO harsh or dangerous chemicals.
  • Everyone will be provided with gloves.
  • All animals are disease free.
  • Although there will not be a lot of blood or gore, a strong constitution is necessary; taxidermy is not for everyone.
  • All animals were already dead, nothing was killed for this class. All mice used are feeder animals for snakes and lizards and would literally be discarded if not sold.
  • Please do not bring any dead animals with you to the class

You can contact Sue with any more questions by clicking here.

Anthropomorphic Chick Taxidermy Class with Susan Jeiven

taxidermyclassdec20_smallDate: Tuesday, December 20th
Time: 7 PM-11 PM
Admission: $60
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
***Sold out; email
morbidanatomy [at] gmail.com to be added to wait list
This class is part of the Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

Anthropomorphic taxidermy–the practice of mounting and displaying taxidermied animals as if they were humans or engaged in human activities–was a popular art form during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The best known practitioner of the art form is British taxidermist Walter Potter who displayed his pieces–which included such elaborate tableaux as The Death of Cock Robin, The Kitten Wedding, and The Kitten Tea Party–in his own museum of curiosities.

On Tuesday December 20–the first night of Hanukkah!–please join Morbid Anatomy and taxidermist, tattoo artist and educator Susan Jeiven for a beginners class in anthropomorphic chick taxidermy with a special holiday theme. All materials–including a chick for each student–will be provided, and each class member will leave at the end of the day with their own anthropomorphic taxidermied chick. Students are invited to bring any miniature items with which they might like to dress or decorate their new friend; some props and miniature clothing will also be provided by the teacher.

No former taxidermy experience is required.

Also, some technical notes:

  • We use NO harsh or dangerous chemicals.
  • Everyone will be provided with gloves.
  • All animals are disease free.
  • Although there will not be a lot of blood or gore, a strong constitution is necessary; taxidermy is not for everyone.
  • All animals were already dead, nothing was killed for this class.
  • Please do not bring any dead animals with you to the class

You can contact Sue with any more questions by clicking here.

CLASS: Dissection as Studio Practice

toolsLecture and Studio Art Class with artist Laura Splan
Date: Sunday, January 8th
Time: 1-4 PM
Fee: $60
*** Class size is limited to 20; please RSVP to morbidanatomy[at]gmail.com

This class will survey the use of dissection in contemporary art practice through an illustrated lecture, discussion and collaborative art project. We will examine the conceptual and cultural significance of cutting, excavating, disassembling, labeling, observing and displaying “bodies.” The lecture will present a brief history of dissection as well as work by contemporary artists exploring imagery, tropes and methods of dissection. The collaborative project will be a fun and lively hands on exploration of the meaning of dissection in a work of art. Participants should bring an object, artifact or specimen to “dissect” for the group exercise. Additional supplies, tools and materials will be provided. No prior art training is required.

Laura Splan is a Brooklyn based visual artist. Her mixed media work explores historical and cultural ambivalence towards the human body. She was recently a Visiting Lecturer at Stanford University where she taught “Art and Biology” in the Art & Art History Department. She has been a Visiting Artist at the New York Academy of Sciences, California College of Art, San Francisco Art Institute, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Cal Arts.  She curates the visual portal DomesticatedViscera.com. Images of her artwork can be found on her website: LauraSplan.com.

You can contact Laura through her website with any questions about the class by clicking here.

“No Computer Is An Island” : PowerPoint Film with Live Musical Accompaniment

poster-no-comp-is-island1Film by James Bell and music by Paul Deuth (a.k.a. Meteorologeist)
Runtime approx 1 hr.
Date: Saturday, November 19th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5

Presented by Morbid Anatomy

“No Computer Is An Island” is a silent movie animated entirely in PowerPoint and accompanied by electronic music, mixed live during the presentation. Utilizing inventive music and limited animation presets, a depressing world of office life, shallow relationships and adult responsibility is presented in 256 colors. The presentation follows a day in the life of one workflow shape, appropriately named Bubbles, as he goes about the business of being a detached thought bubble. Other workflow characters overlap and interrupt his story, creating images that exploit the constraints of PowerPoint as an animation tool by using the conventions of silent film. “No Computer Is An Island” engages the timeless need for narrative, inviting the viewer to create meaning slide by slide.

James E. P. Bell regularly makes PowerPoint presentations in an office building in midtown Manhattan. A founding member of the interactive performance group PowerPoint, James has explored the aesthetic potential of MicroSoft Office applications in productions such as “Introduction to Change Management” (1999), “Violence in the Workplace” (2003), and now “No Computer Is An Island” (2010).

Paul Deuth is an electronic musician/composer/producer (A.K.A. Meteorologeist) and director of photography. With an extensive career in television, Paul most enjoys expressing himself in multi-media artistic ventures including projects with PowerPoint, Fire and Ice, Hold Please, and the Prospects. You can experience some of Paul’s music at http://www.myspace.com/meteorologeist

Tarot Practicum: How to Read Any Deck Without a Book

tarot-practicumA class with Kathy Biehl
Date: Sunday, November 20th
Time: 2-4pm
Admission: $40 (You must RSVP to phantasmaphile [at] gmail.com if you’d like to attend, as class size is limited)
Presented by: Phantasmaphile

The imagery of the Tarot is rich and complex, intimidating even experienced readers into thumbing through a book for meanings to interpret puzzling cards or an unfamiliar deck. In this intensive practicum, Tarot master Kathy Biehl will teach sure-fire methods for picking up any deck and pulling information from it without consulting a book — whether you are a beginner, novice or experienced reader.  Please bring a deck that you’d like to work with; to facilitate the ease of group understanding, the instructor requests that you bring a deck that follows the structure or of the Rider-Waite deck. (If you have any questions about whether your chosen deck is appropriate, please email Kathy at kbiehl@empowermentunlimited.net in advance).

Kathy Biehl uses the symbolism of the Tarot and astrology to help her clients understand themselves, their options and the people in their lives. Her connection to the Tarot began in her mid-teens, when her mother unexpectedly gave her a deck after an otherwise ordinary day of high school. Since then she has been an avid collector and professional reader and developed a distinctive methodology that she has has been teaching for more than 25 years. In a parallel life she is an attorney and author.  Her website is Empowerment Unlimited.

Para-Academia #5: A Crossing Without Borders: Death in the Thought of Jacques Derrida

caravaggio-the-sacrifice-of-isaacA class facilitated by Jonathan Basile
Date: Sunday, November 13
Time: 6 PM
Admission: free, but please donate $5 if you can!
Presented by The Hollow Earth Society and The Public School New York

What is death? How does our being mortal shape the possibilities of our cognition and our desire? How should we live in order to come to terms with the term of life, and how does our orientation towards a good death become an art of living?

How does the history of thinking about death shape our understanding of these possibilities, and how do the cultural and other differences surrounding the treatment of death play a part in constituting those very differences—the demarcations of ethnicities, nations, religions, genders, etc.—all the lines drawn on this side of the division between life and death? What does thinking about death in general reveal to us about death in our culture—about our medical industry, about our political furor over “death panels,” about a culture industry obsessed with the equation of youth and beauty, for example?

We will discuss these themes as they are developed in two of Derrida’s major works on death: The Gift of Death and Aporias. In all of our thinking about life in this world, about responsibility, authenticity, temporality, finitude, or mortality, for example, it seems that we always surreptitiously introduce some infinite beyond into the constitution of the here-below, a transcendence that may be utterly unknowable despite our complete reliance
on it.

It has gone by many names throughout history: the Form of the Good, God, the unnameable possibility of the name, the Unconditioned, the Inverted World, Being, Differance, or the secret; we will consider what it would mean to nickname it “Death.”

Reading Assignment:
The Gift of Death, Chapter 3 (p. 53-81)

Recommended Additional Reading:
The Gift of Death, Chapter 4
Aporias

Jonathan Basile is a volunteer with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, visiting hospice patients and their families. He currently studies at Brooklyn College, working towards an MFA in Creative Writing. This past summer he organized a series of discussions on death in Western philosophy through The Public School New York, focusing on the work of Plato, Hegel, Heidegger, Levinas, and Derrida.

Writing Assignment

Most every representation of death throughout Western thought has sought to offer a vision of death that could be incorporated into one’s sense of responsibility in this life, into one’s sense of being a free agent, accountable for one’s own decisions and their consequences up to death and beyond. Such representations present certain paradoxes for human beings laboring under them, not the least of which would be the attempt to bring death under our control as something we could actively will and take responsibility for, despite it’s seeming to always take us by surprise, unawares.

For example, the Christian representation of death as a final judgment and afterlife as an infinite reward or punishment for actions in this life attempts to make sense of the infinite responsibility the Christian adherent feels as a result of her original sin, and offers a death that is a complement to the life of sacrifice she should lead (storing up her treasures in heaven, knowing all the while that a Father who sees in secret will reward her).

Try to write your own representation of death or the afterlife. Keep in mind what sort of an idea of life or the individual human your particular representation is reinforcing.

(Bonus points to anyone who offers a vision of death or the afterlife that undoes the patriarchal bias of the Platonic and Judeo-Christian representations. This tendency is best exemplified by Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac—in order to prove his adherence to his absolute duty towards God, Abraham must renounce everything he holds dear in this world, to show that he is completely dedicated to its beyond. To make this infinite renunciation requires proving his willingness to kill his own son, without saying a word about it to his wife. It seems that the vision of individuality that one receives from this tradition of thinking about death is uniquely masculine or patriarchal.)

***

The Para-Academia Series
Ongoing workshops co-produced by the Public School New York and the Hollow Earth Society

A Shadow Genealogy of the Ivory Tower/Producing the Unwriteable

Manifesto:

The para is the “alongside,” that which comments on the official or normative. While academics debate the finer points of Shakespeare and Kant, para-academics aggregate around shadow-commentators whose works do not so much categorize (striate) and enlighten (bring light into) difficult terrain, but produce that terrain, creating obscure spaces and nebulous discourses that are immune to traditional academic approaches.

Blogs, speculative medievalisms, Cyclonopedia, Charles Fort, teratology, Deleuzean-everything, print-on-demand—these and other tentacles of a polycephalic (many-headed) para-academia have entwined to produce an addendum and, finally, an ultimatum to established disciplines and practices.

The Public School New York and the Hollow Earth Society will explore these emerging ideas and modes of expression through a series of discussions and writing workshops, with audio available after each session.

Halloween and Day of the Dead Party with New Episodes of Ghoul A Go-Go and The Midnight Archive, Costume Contest, Music, and More!

Jose Posada: El Jarabe en Ultratumba (The Folk Dance Beyond the Grave)

El Jarabe en Ultratumba (The Folk Dance Beyond the Grave), Jose Guadalupe Posada

Date: Saturday, October 22
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $12
Presented by Morbid Anatomy and Borderline Projects

Please join us on Saturday, October 22 for a Halloween/Day of the Dead costume party featuring brand new episodes of Ghoul A Go-Go and The Midnight Archive, as well as burlesque, music, piñata, food, beverages, sugar skulls, a costume contest, and more! Please, please (!!!) come in costume! All costumes welcomed!

The night’s amusements will include:

ENTERTAINMENT!

  • Ghoul a Go Go: Premiere of a brand new episode
  • The Midnight Archive: Two new episodes of The Midnight Archive, Ronni Thomas’ new web series based on Observatory
  • Music: Wavy gravy Halloween music for the all night dance party
  • Burlesque: A creepy Burlesque performance by Lil’ Miss Lixx

FOOD AND DRINK!

  • Traditional Food and Drink Specials throughout the evening

COSTUME CONTEST!

  • Prizes for costumes inspired by either Vlad, Creighton, The Invisible Man, or any of the clips featured on Ghoul a Go Go

TRADITIONAL DAY OF THE DEAD ATTRACTIONS!

  • Day of the Dead Altar: Altar de Muertos, an installation by Rebeca and Salvador Olguin celebrating Mexico and its past, history and culture
  • Face painting: Have the Kiss of Death painted on your face by La Catrina
  • Pan de Muerto: Indulge in this traditional dessert called Bread of Death
  • Piñata: Dash death to smithereens with our annual death piñata!
  • Sugar skulls: Decorate and eat or bring home your own Day of the Dead sugar skull
  • Offerings to the Departed: In some places in Mexico, people leave small, coffin-like figures out for the souls of the departed. Guests are invited to leave their own offering; they will be available at the installation

Hope to see you there.