Some good life advice: don’t let anyone take a picture of you taking snuff, unless you want to be immortalized as a Victorian nose-picker. Snuff is a form of tobacco ground into a fine powder, taken by snorting a little pinch up one’s nose. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was a luxury only the rich could afford. So in these pictures, the posh ladies are trying to demonstrate their social standing by posing with a status symbol. But […]
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, […]
When I was a kid, my weird and wonderful mother used to amuse us by picking up the cat and pretending to play it like a bagpipe, using its tail as a mouthpiece. Her improvised feline instrument has, sadly, been upstaged by my discovery of the Katzenklavier, a Cat-Piano (also known as a cat organ) dreamed up in the 16th century.
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 […]
I was recently in Edinburgh for the really incredible Sensualising Deformity conference, and while there I was reminded of my one of my favorite museum objects, in the National Museum of Scotland: the mysterious little coffins of Arthur’s Seat. In 1836, five boys were hunting rabbits on the north-eastern slopes of Arthur’s Seat, the main peak in the group of hills in the center of Edinburgh. In a small cave in the crags of the hill they stumbled across seventeen […]