Art and monsters are two of my all-time favorite things, so I’m in (weird, twisted) heaven when the two things combine. A strange, hairy beast lurks inside the soul of New Zealand artist Tony Fomison – head over to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa blog to read my full post about his remarkable paintings of hairy beasts. What does your inner monster look like? For New Zealand painter Tony Fomison (1939–1990) it was a creature drenched in darkness, […]
Tipu’s (or Tippoo’s) Tiger is a life-sized wooden mechanical organ made around 1793, depicting a tiger mauling a man in European clothing. When the crank is turned, a hidden mechanism causes the man’s arm to goes up and down, and plays his wails of agony along the growls of the tiger. Under a flap on the tiger’s body there is also a small pipe organ, which can play 18 notes.
The Idiots are an artistic collective made up of Afke Golsteijn and Floris Bakker. They describe their work as “characterized by the use of animal material exquisitely sculpted into natural positions and combined seamlessly with rich materials such as embroidery and pearls.” Their work plays with all sorts of quirky taxidermy, such as the exposed fox spine of Thanatos and Hypnos (2011), the parrot headphones of Head Phones (Stilte!) (2009), or the slick oil drop bird in Oilbird (2008). However, I […]
If you haven’t already seen it, I strongly suggest you read about the fascinating Hidden Mothers phenomena in Victorian photography, and its possible relationship to the tradition of post-mortem photography. Amsterdam-based fashion photographers/artists Anuschka Blommers and Niels Schumm have put a morbid contemporary twist on the history of this imagery, recycling the aesthetic conventions of hidden mother and post-mortem photography into a commercial kid’s wear fashion shoot. In the first part of Blommers and Schumm’s ‘Kidswear’ series, an anonymous figure […]
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the preserved skins of exotic animals from faraway lands were brought back to Europe by explorers. The hides would be handed over to taxidermists whose job it was to prepare them for display by stuffing the skins and giving them a life-like appearance. However, the taxidermists often just had to guess at the shape and appearance of these unfamiliar animals based on crude sketches and descriptions, resulting in grotesque physical distortions which would […]
Published by D.W. Kellog between 1833-1842, this amusing Map of the Open Country of Woman’s Heart paints the “fairer sex” in a rather unflattering light. From the mole traps in the Province of Deception, to the city of Moi-meme in the Land of Selfishness, to the Plains of Susceptibility in the Region of Sentimentality, this ever-so-charming illustration certainly demonstrates this Victorian gentleman’s equal taste for maps and disdain for women. I suspect this fellow must have had a recent broken […]