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Biomedicine in museums

Don't make art out of the evolutionary heritage, please!

By February 14, 2011No Comments

I’m not squeamish when it comes to sacrificing animals for food or for scientific purposes. But I don’t like Susan Jeiven’s taxidermic art class in the NY Observatory art space, “a bizarre Victorian hobby that transforms dead mice into miniature ‘humans'”, as the NY Post puts it (found it on Joanna Ebenstein’s FB wall).

Jeiven buys frozen mice from snake-feed stores, thaws them and sucks their blood out with a syringe. The art students then learn to clean out the intestines, remove the bones and use wires to set them in odd poses. Standard taxidermic techniques.

Maybe such “anthropomorphic taxidermy” was hip in high Victorian society. But that’s a hundred years ago. I don’t like this revival. I don’t mind displaying human remains, but don’t make art out of the evolutionary heritage, please! Actually, I don’t like taxidermy at all. I want some sacred space left.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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