Exhuming Xmas! Weird art fair specializes in curiosities

The Brooklyn Paper
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Deck the halls with skulls and insects — fa la la la la lala la la!

The second annual Morbid Anatomy holiday fair — an oddball craft show hosted by a research library in Gowanus — is selling jewelry, art and other gifts for that special someone who’s more into Tim Burton than Santa Claus.

“Holiday fairs generally suck and ours isn’t going to,” said Joanna Ebenstein, founder of the Morbid Anatomy Library on Union Street. “This is for the people who are into the niche weird stuff you can’t get anywhere else.”

This year, expect a load of anthropomorphic taxidermy created by a former Museum of Natural History worker — including beetles playing the piano — rare and obscure anatomy books, voodoo photographs, ceramic bat masks, sinister jewelry with gory vials and countless other artifacts, not to mention free Brooklyn Brewery beer.

There’s also sparkly crocheted skulls made by a library science student moonlighting as grim embroiderer.

Ebenstein launched the library in 2008 after surveying anatomical museums in Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland and beyond. The private collection is available by appointment only and contains a bevy of medical antiques, taxidermy, prosthetics, jarred specimens and diagrams. She launched the fair last year for others who’d rather spread holiday cheer with creepy curiosities.

“I don’t think there’s any holiday fair like this,” Ebenstein said. “It’s slightly goofy but also very elegant.”

Morbid Anatomy Library [543 Union St. between Bond and Nevins streets in Gowanus, (718) 702-5937], Dec. 17 and 18, 12 to 6 pm. For info, visit

Reach Kate Briquelet at or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.

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