Extraordinary Birds: The Art of Ornithology Lecture and Book Signing

Dissected pigeon from Elliott Coues “Key to North American Birds,” 1894

Illustrated lecture with Paul Sweet, Collection Manager in the Department of Ornithology, AMNH
Date: Tuesday, July 22

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
*** Copies of Extraordinary Birds will be available for sale and signing

Tonight, join American Museum of Natural History ornithologist Paul Sweet for a heavily illustrated lecture based on his new book Extraordinary Birds, the second publication in the AMNH’s Natural Histories series. In Extraordinary Birds, Paul traces the history of ornithological illustration from the Renaissance to the 20th century, examining the development of scientific thought, world exploration and printing techniques, and telling the stories of important figures from the history of ornithology.

Paul Sweet was born in Bristol, England, and has been interested in birds for as long as he can remember. After completing a degree in zoology at the University of Liverpool, he traveled in the Americas and Asia for several years before working in the Raffles Museum in Singapore. In 1991 he moved to New York to work at the American Museum of Natural History, where he is now the Collection Manager in the Ornithology Department overseeing the world’s largest collection of bird specimens. During his tenure at the AMNH he has participated in over 20 AMNH collecting expeditions to many far-flung locales.

Art and Anatomy: Preserving and Exhibiting the Human Body

Illustrated lecture with Dr Corinna Wagner, University of Exeter
Date: Monday, May 5

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: *** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue)
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

In this illustrated talk, Dr Corinna Wagner will investigate collaborations between artists and anatomists, from the late eighteenth century to the present day. We will look at the ways artists and anatomists shared a belief that by understanding the body’s interior, we may more fully understanding what it means to be human.

Two medical art forms in particular—wax anatomical models and écorchés (flayed bodies)—inspired debates over such questions as: how might seeing into the body change human identity? How would public access to wax anatomical models and preserved bodies change people’s views about ‘normality’ and ‘abnormality’? Did the spectacle of preserved bodies affect feelings of human compassion, sympathy and communality?

These types of questions have galvanized artists, writers, medical figures and the wider public in the past, and they continue to do so today. These issues may never be fully resolved; yet, as she will demonstrate, the spectacle of the body’s interior—as art, as medical illustration, as exhibit—has altered our ideas about human value, human distinctiveness and human identity.

Dr Corinna Wagner is Senior Lecturer is the English Department and the Department of Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter, England. Her research and teaching focuses on the relationship between art, literature and medicine. She has just published two books: Pathological Bodies: Medicine and Political Culture (University of California, 2013) and Gothic Evolutions: Poetry, Tales, Context, Theory (Broadview, 2014). Currently, she is co-editing an anthology of poetry and medical writing, called Body of Work (Bloomsbury, 2015) and is finishing a book entitled Transparent Bodies: Medicine and Visual Technologies.

Making Dinosaurs: The Art and Science of Fossil Preparation

Credit: Courtesy of American Museum of Natural History

Illustrated Lecture by Caitlin Wylie, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Date: Tuesday, May 13

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Dinosaur skeletons standing tall and mighty are a familiar sight in museums. But how did they get that way? You probably already know that fossils lie encased in ancient rock until that rock weathers away, leaving them exposed and ready to be spotted by a lucky fossil hunter. But what happens next is rarely written down or shared outside the community of fossil researchers and technicians. This talk goes between the lines of scientific publications and behind the scenes of museum laboratories to investigate the people, practices, and motivations involved in making crumbling, incomplete fossils into both beautiful dinosaur skeletons and elegant theories about past life, evolution, and Earth history. This talk will trace the history of how rocks have been transformed into portrayals of extinct organisms since the 19th century, based on case studies of fossil specimens, as well as how today’s fossil preparators approach their work, both as a science and as an art.

Caitlin Wylie studies how scientists and technicians make research specimens in today’s laboratories. Her Ph.D., from the University of Cambridge, investigates how fossil preparators do the delicate work of removing rock from fossils and repairing and reconstructing them, as well as how these informally-trained technicians fit in the scientific community. Caitlin is a lecturer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, in the Program for Science, Technology and Society.

The Surprising Story of the Ku Klux Klan in America: Lecture and Artifact Show and Tell with Mike Zohn of TV’s Oddities

Lecture and Show and Tell with Mike Zohn of TV’s Oddities
Date: Friday, April 4

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

A few years ago, Mike Zohn of TV’s Oddities found, at his local flea market, a bizarre panoramic photograph (dated 1925) showing a huge group of delegates from the Delaware chapter of the Ku Klux Klan posing–in full costume–in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Not long after, he came across a motion lamp from the same time period depicting the flaming cross emblem of the K.K.K.. These two artifacts led Mike to ask a number of questions: what was the story with this particular group of Klans Men, and what were they doing posing in front of the Capital building? And how could it be that the infamous icon of murderous intolerance–the flaming cross–could have become the subject of a prosaic, commercially sold motion lamp almost as if it The Klan were just another club such as the rotary club or the masons?

This lecture and show and tell will recount Mike’s surprising discoveries when he began to investigate those questions, and will cover the history of the Klan in America, the scopes monkey trial and the battle over evolution in the U.S.A., D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, and the changing face of the Klan over the years as documented by these artifacts.

This is the first lecture of a monthly series in which Mike Zohn will present and speak about peculiar objects drawn from his personal collection.

Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night

Hosted by Daisy Tainton
Date: Tuesday, May 20th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $15 (includes one free adult beverage)
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
Purchase tickets here

Are you dying to show off your knowledge of death, diseases and afflictions? Want to meet some like-minded New Yorkers and discuss fun topics like New York’s burgeoning measles outbreak? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, we hope you’ll join us for our second Morbid Curiosity: A Morbid Anatomy Singles Night!

Play games with historical, anatomical and medical themes. Meet interesting singles with whom you actually have something in common, curiosity-seekers to join you on your next graveyard tour, or simply hang out with the Morbid Anatomy Team and pick our brains!

No age maximum, all above 21 are welcome. Your ticket comes with one free adult beverage to get the ball rolling, sponsored by Dionysus.

Fear not the bugaboo of social anxiety! Master of Ceremonies Daisy Tainton will be on hand to help break your conversational ice formations.

Anthropomorphic Bunny Taxidermy Class: Special Walter Potter Edition with Morbid Anatomy Museum Taxidermists in Residence Divya Anantharaman and Katie Innamorato

Date: Sunday, May 18
Time: 12 – 6 PM

Admission: $350
***Tickets must be pre-purchased here
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy
*** Offsite: Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) , 424 A 3rd Avenue ( Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue ), Brooklyn
Subway: 4th Av – 9th Street (R – F – G)

In this special class, both of Morbid Anatomy’s taxidermists is residence come together to bring you anthropomorphic bunnies!

Anthropomorphic taxidermy–in which taxidermied animals are posed into human attitudes and poses–was an artform made famous by Victorian taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. In this class, students will learn to create–from start to finish–anthropomorphic bunnies inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Mr. Potter and his ilk. We will begin class with a screening of the delightful “Walter Potter Taxidermy” documentary by the incredible Ronni Thomas. Using the film as inspiration, your instructors will guide you in creating a finished piece of anthropomorphic rabbit taxidermy.

This class will cover all the more advanced techniques used in rabbit taxidermy from start to finish-from proper skinning and fleshing techniques, how to split, turn and position rabbit ears, dry preservation, and the traditional methods of building their own form using wrapped body. Extra special bunny sized Potter themed props will be provided, and instruction on how to create your own props, such as hats and monocles, will be provided. Students will also be provided with materials to make antlers, horns, or tentacles. As always, students are also welcome to bring their own props or accessories if desired.

Divya Anantharaman is a Morbid Anatomy Museum Taxidermist in Residence and a Brooklyn based artist whose taxidermy practice was sparked by a lifelong fascination with the intersection of natural mythology and science. After a journey through self and professional training, and an inspiring class (Sue Jeiven’s popular Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class at Observatory!), she has found her calling in creating sickly sweet and sparkly critters. A trophy winner in the 2013 Philadelphia Alt Taxidermy competition, she has been profiled in numerous publications as varied as Vice/Fringes, The NY Times, The Cut, and on hit Discovery/Science Channel TV show Oddities. You can find out more at www.d-i-v-y-a.com.

Katie Innamorato, artist and Rogue Taxidermist, is a member of the M.A.R.T. or Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists. She is professionally and self taught in taxidermy; winning awards and ribbons every year at the GSTA. She explores the commercial relationships between animals and our society and her work questions the idea of bringing nature inside. She also examines the cyclical connections between life and death, and growth and decomposition. As with all M.A.R.T. members she adheres to strict ethical guidelines when acquiring specimens. She uses roadkill, scrap skins from other taxidermists and the garment industry, and donated skins to create her artworks; almost every part of the animal is utilized.Her work has been featured recently on the new Science Channel show, “Odd Folks Home,” on the hit Science and Discovery Channel TV show, “Oddities,” and exhibited at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.
Her website and blogs-
www.afterlifeanatomy.com
www.afterlifeanatomy.tumblr.com
www.facebook.com/afterlifeanatomy
www.etsy.com/shop/afterlifeanatomy

Also, some technical notes:

  • We use NO harsh or dangerous chemicals.
  • Everyone will be provided with gloves and sanitary equipment.
  • All animals are disease free.
  • Although there will not be a lot of blood or gore, a strong constitution and maturity are necessary. We will be seeing meat. In consideration of other students, please do not dissect carcasses in class. (You are welcome to take the carcass and dissect on your own, instruction can be provided)
  • All animals are ethically sourced- nothing was killed for this class. Animals used in this class are discards from the feeder/pet food industry, naturally deceased, or discards from the food service industry.
  • Please do not bring any raw dead animals with you to the class.

Anthropomorphic Mouse (One or Two Headed!) Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman

Date:  Sunday, June 1st
Time: 1 – 5 PM
Offsite*** Morbid Anatomy Museum ( New Location ) : 424A 3rd Ave, Corner of 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Admission: $110 (one-headed) / $125 (two-headed)
*** Purchase tickets by clicking here.
This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

In this class, students will learn all the skills required to make–and leave class with their very own–piece of one- or two-headed mouse anthropomorphic taxidermy.

Anthropomorphic taxidermy–a practice in which taxidermied animals are posed as if engaged in human activities–was an artform made famous by Victorian taxidermist and museologist Walter Potter. In this class, as profiled by the New York Times, students will learn to create–from start to finish–anthropomorphic mice inspired by the charming and imaginative work of Mr. Potter. Your final project might take the form of a bespectacled, whiskey swilling, top hat tipping mouse; or perhaps a rodent mermaid queen of the burlesque world? With some props and some artful styling, your mouse can become whatever or whomever you want; this is the joy of anthropomorphic taxidermy.

Today’s class will teach students everything involved in producing a fully finished mount, including initial preparation, hygiene and sanitary measures, fleshing, tail stripping, and dry preservation. Once properly preserved, the mice will be posed and outfitted as the student desires, with a selection of props and accessories provided. Students are also encouraged to bring their own accessories and bases. All other supplies will be provided for use in class.

Each student will leave class with a fully finished piece, and the knowledge to create their own pieces in the future.

Divya Anantharaman is a Morbid Anatomy Museum Taxidermist in Residence and a Brooklyn based artist whose taxidermy practice was sparked by a lifelong fascination with the intersection of natural mythology and science. After a journey through self and professional training, and an inspiring class (Sue Jeiven’s popular Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy Class at Observatory!), she has found her calling in creating sickly sweet and sparkly critters. A trophy winner in the 2013 Philadelphia Alt Taxidermy competition, she has been profiled in numerous publications as varied as Vice/Fringes, The NY Times, The Cut, and on hit Discovery/Science Channel TV show Oddities. You can find out more at www.d-i-v-y-a.com.

Also, some technical notes:

  • We use NO harsh or dangerous chemicals.
  • Everyone will be provided with gloves and sanitary equipment.
  • All animals are disease free.
  • Although there will not be a lot of blood or gore, a strong constitution and maturity are necessary. We will be seeing meat. In consideration of other students, please do not dissect carcasses in class. (You are welcome to take the carcass and dissect on your own, instruction can be provided)
  • All animals are ethically sourced- nothing was killed for this class. Animals used in this class are discards from the feeder/pet food industry, naturally deceased, or discards from the food service industry.
  • Please do not bring any raw dead animals with you to the class.

 

Wondrous Tones: In Search of “Nature Music”

Left: Chladni figures. Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni, Traité d’acoustique, 1809. Collection of the Wagner Free Institute of Science Library. Right: Ascidiacea.Ernst Haeckel,  Kunstformen der Natur, 1904

Illustrated Lecture with Emily I. Dolan, University of Pennsylvania
Date: Thursday, May 8

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Location: The Morbid Anatomy Museum (New Space) 424A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street and 3rd Avenue), Brooklyn, NY
Subway: 4th Av – 9th Street (R – F – G)

Presented by Morbid Anatomy

What is nature’s voice? Does it understand harmony? Does it know melody? Can nature sing? During the early nineteenth century, many inventors and acousticians were fascinated by the idea of harnessing natural tones. The idea that music and nature are closely bound is an ancient one that stretches back to the harmony of the spheres. The “nature music” of this period, however, was understood not as silent mathematical proportions, but rather as actual sound: beautiful, ethereal tones that were thought to linger from a prelapsarian time. Musicologist Emily I. Dolan explores the many attempts to organize and control the voice of nature by means of new, and often fantastical, musical instruments.

Emily I. Dolan is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century musical culture; in particular she is interested in the intersections between the histories of music, science, and technology. Her first book, The Orchestral Revolution: Haydn and the Technologies of Timbre (Cambridge University Press) was published last year.

“Morbid Anatomy Anthology” Book Release Party

Morbid Anatomy Anthology” Book Release Party Sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery and with cocktails and music by Friese Undine
Date: NEW DATE Saturday, April 26

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: Free
Location: The Morbid Anatomy Museum (424A Third Ave, Brooklyn)
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
** Copies of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology will be available for sale and signing

Please join us for a night of drinks, music and books to celebrate the release of “The Morbid Anatomy Anthology,” a 500 page, lavishly illustrated, hardbound and full-color book featuring 28 essays based on some of the most memorable lectures hosted by Morbid Anatomy since 2008. Many of the authors will be on hand to raise a glass with you and sign your copy of the book!

Included in the book are essays by Evan Michelson (star of Science Channel’s hit show “Oddities“) featuring never before published photographs of the catacombs of Palermo; Simon Chaplin (head of the Wellcome Library) on public displays of corpses in Georgian England, Caitlin Doughty of the popular Ask a Mortician web series on demonic children and the witch trials of Europe, and Paul Koudounaris (author of Empire of Death) on a truck stop populated with human skulls. In addition are pieces on books bound in human skin, fin de siècle death-themed Parisian cafes, post-mortem photography, eroticized anatomical wax models, taxidermied humans and other animals, Santa Muerte, “artist of death” Frederik Ruysch, and much more.

Table of Contents:

 


Preserved In Glass: The Art and History of Wet Specimens

“Wet Specimen” Medical Preparation by Bernardus Siegfried Albinus, Circa 1730, Museum Boerhaave, Leiden

Illustrated lecture with Mark Batelli, Wet Specimen Preparator and Restorer at Obscura Antiques
Date: Tuesday, March 25

Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

“Wet specimens” preserve an organic object–be it a human body part, zoological specimen or plant–in fluids such as alcohol or formalin and airtight case, generally for use by student of science and medicine. Such pieces can last indefinitely; many specimens–some stretching back to the hundreds of years–still exist today, looking much as they did when originally preserved. Earliest wet specimens–such as those by Bernahard Albinus and Frederik Ruysch–were often also highly inventive and artistic, and valued as collectables by private collectors, aspiring cabinetists and museums alike.

In tonight’s heavily illustrated lecture, wet specimen preparator and restorer at Obscura Antiques Mark Batelli will outline the art and history of these fascinating objects, focusing on their inception, development, refinement, obsolescence, and present day relevance.

Brooklyn based artist Mark Batelli works as a wet specimen preparator and restorer at Obscura Antiques, with a history as a traveling DJ and artist, digerati and a nomadic Boheme through the western world from California to Greece.