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Beaty Biodiversity Museum

The Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia is a newly open research centre and museum focusing on all thing natural and all things naturally diverse.
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« The New Taxidermy | Main | Squirrel Lamp »
Wednesday
Sep022009

The New Antiquarians

A recent article in the New York Times' Home and Garden section featured collectors with a deliciously decadent antiquarian aesthetic.  And yes, taxidermy featured prominently.  The loft of sisters Hollister and Porter Hovey in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is stuffed with all things outmoded yet highly stylish: taxidermy, fencing masks, natural history prints, pith helmets, and apothecary jars ... objects that exude a palpable nostalgia for another era long passed.

  
This is not the type of decorating style that you can just go out and buy. It is a style of passion.  A lifestyle of visual collage. "It’s a stitched-together, bricolage world, an alternative world,” writes Valerie Steele, the director of the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology.  Collecting old things is a way of collecting the aura of a passed world or perhaps of collecting the passing of time itself.

But these are not just any sort of objects.  These are intensely fascinating things. Faded patinas, gilding, whimsical details, furs and feathers, brass knobs, skeletons, aged maps. Each is inherently, potently unique, which - on its own - marks these things off from the endless stream of sameness characterising modern wares.  Each object composing the eerie Victoriana aesthetic of Ryan Matthew's apartment is irreplaceable and irreplaceably strange, particularly his mummified hunting dog.

This is more than a "New Vintage." This is a statement of idiosyncratic individuality. Just as no two pieces of taxidermy will ever be the same (there are no copies in nature), no two apothecary bottles or Victorian pith helmets or vintage mirror will ever be equally the same.  These lifelong collections express a love of texture and detail and the pleasures of beautifully, outlandishly, and outmodedly uniquely vibrant things.

Read the whole article here + http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/30/garden/30prewar.html?pagewanted=1

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