Sections

Star-studded cast of oddity experts gather to save Morbid Anatomy Library

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

An exhibit that celebrates man’s fascination with death is poised to rise from the grave.

A bevy of silver-tongued scholars, scribes, raconteurs, and anecdotalists will tell the story of the lost relics of the Morbid Anatomy Library in a bid to raise money to rebuild the collection of macabre oddities that were damaged in a fire.

“The library is a small room, but it’s filled floor to ceiling with medical books, taxidermy, art work, and postmortem photographs,” said curator Joanna Ebenstein, who organized a series of rapid-fire micro-lectures on June 30.

“I’m interested in the fact that death in our time is considered a taboo topic. In other cultures it’s considered an inevitable aspect of life, and I think it’s perverse in a way that we’re not supposed to talk about it.”

The Morbid Anatomy Library, once a project-in-residence at the Proteus Gowanus gallery, was ruined following a particularly malevolent Good Friday this year, when artwork fashioned from antique pre-safety matches caught fire in an upstairs gallery, triggering the building’s sprinkler system and inundating the museum’s collection of rare books, artifacts, and anatomical curiosa in a ruinous deluge.

“I lost about 15 percent of the books, some things that were pretty irreplaceable,” said Ebenstein. “The lesson to be learned is don’t ever accept an art piece made of pre-safety matches.”

In a bid to rebuild her exhibit of odd objects, Ebenstein has invited a motley crew of speakers to deliver a series of five-minute-long lectures about scientific and artistic oddities. Speakers include TV personalities Mike Zohn and Ryan Mathews of the Science Channel show “Oddities,” “Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy” author Melissa Milgrom, New York Magazine writer Mark Jacobson, “Portraits of the Mind” author Carl Schoonover, Lisa O’Sullivan of the New York Academy of Medicine, “The Affected Provincial’s Almanac” author Lord Whimsy, and Queens College professor Amy Herzog.

After an hour of lectures, Ebenstein will host a silent auction of macabre works of art, artifacts, and once-live specimens.

“I have a pretty good roster of friends who do interesting work, either in photography taxidermy wax, or print and they’ve all donated a piece to help rebuild the library,” said Ebenstein.

Proteus Gowanus [543 Union St. between Nevins and Bond streets in Gowanus, (718) 243–1572, www. proteusgowanus.org]. June 30, 8 pm. $25.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

John Wasserman from Gowanus says:
Hmm. Very interesting. Unfortunate? Absolutely. Iy smells like trouble to me though.
June 27, 2012, 2:07 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

This week’s featured advertisers