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 […]
My last post on the inflatable skins in James Lomax’s Untitled (Me and My Friend) (2011) reminded me of this ridiculously interesting series of photographs from the archives of the American Museum of Natural History. Taken between 1933-1935 by Thane L. Bierwert, they show museum staff engaged in the task of cleaning and re-mounting the skin of an elephant for display. As well as offering a great (and I suspect rare) behind-the-scenes glance of a 1930s natural history museum, that […]
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 […]
I think that probably every person, at some point in their lives, gets the urge to make their own ridiculously interesting creature out of the shaved a** of a monkey. (Right?) Well this grim little fellow is the product of that impulse, created around 1824 by an eccentric but well-respected 19th century English naturalist, Charles Waterton (1782-1865).