My book The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing!

Click image to purchase or read more about the book here 


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Beginners Taxidermy Tutorial! 

Always wanted to try your hand at taxidermy?  If you live in London, here is your chance!  On June 30th, Amanda's Autopsies will be offering a beginners tutorial at the fantastic Grade II Listed Pathology Museum on St Bart’s Hospital campus.

Participants will be working on a mouse. All equipment and light refreshments will be supplied, ie: no need to bring your own mouse.  Lessons start at 1pm and work through to 5.30pm. 

The class will coincide with the last week of the “Therianthropy” art exhibition which documents the interraction of animals and humans, within medicine, through the ages and comprises work of local artists such as Dan Hillier and Kitty Valentine.

Tickets available here:


Taxidermy takes to the Boards

If you happen to be in Philadelphia, make sure you catch “Buridan's Ass" by S. R. Plant on at the Iron Age Theatre. It's on March 27th and 28th.

Here is a short blurb:

"Ever since an aquarium explosion forced him to choose between running to the aid of his stricken girlfriend and saving the life of a floundering turbot, Mahone the taxidermist has suffered from Buridan’s Ass Syndrome - a fear of making decisions.

His business is doing so badly that he is no longer able to pay his young assistant, Ernest, and his hopes of impressing a certain French lady by expertly stuffing her badger are shattered when Ernest informs him that the creature’s pelt has set rock solid. And inside out.”

For more information:


Upcoming Exhibit: Fashioning Feathers

If you're in the Edmonton area, make sure to check out this upcoming exhibit: "Fashioning Feathers" curated by Merle Patchett and Liz Gomez.  It showed at the FAB Gallery in Edmonton last year, but will be opening at the Royal Alberta Museum in March.


Read more here:



This Object has been Removed ... 

This cheeky series of signs were designed by Christina Davis and Jen Bervin to be placed among the specimens at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.  The installation was part of the annual HMNH event  “Bizarre Animals: An Evening of Contemporary Art Interventions” during which artists present works in response to the museum’s collections.

Read more about the event here:

See more signs here from Christina Davis' flickr account here:


Auctions you've already missed ... 

And while on the subject of auctions (see below), I just came across an auction that happened last year in Dorset, England when the Isle of Wight Wax Works Museum and Animal World (also known as The Brading Experience) closed its doors to the world. The place must have been something of a wonderworld of strangeness considered the contents of the auction lots making up the "Brading Collection of Taxidermy, Waxworks, Costume and Similar Items."  A sampling for you:

 Read more about the sale in the Daily Mail at


Taxidermy Auction - Shabby Chic! 

For all you lovers of vintage taxidermy, here is the auction for you!  Pierre Berge & Associates in Brussels are selling off an astounding collection of pieces.  Here is just a sampling:









 View all the lots at


Curiouser and curiouser 

If you happen to be in Rhode Island, check out this exhibit at the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. CURIOUSER: New Encounters with the Victorian Natural History Collection, conceived and curated by Erik Carlson and Erica Carpenter, asks six artists to engage with the museum's collections in order to create new original installations in the Museum's lobby gallery.

Above is an image of Jennifer Raimondi's "Comfort," a stuffed fawn covered in more than 700 paper moths. (Dawn Marie Temple/Bellaria Designs Photography). Read Cate McQuaid's review of the exhibit here + in the Boston Globe.  Visit the museum's website here +


5th Annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest

"The beasts are back! Calling all science geeks, nature freaks, and rogue geniuses!" Such is the call for the 5th Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest hosted by the Secret Science Club and held at Bell Hall in Brooklyn.  Prizes go for best taxidermy whether bought, found, or homemade, biological oddities, articulated skeletons, skulls, jarred specimens, plus categories you couldn't even imagine.

The contest will be judged by including Robert Marbury of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists; Dorian Devins, co-founder and curator of the Secret Science Club; beast mistress Melissa Milgrom, author of Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy, and Mike Zohn, star of the new show Oddities on the Discovery Channel.

Entrants: Contact to pre-register. Share your taxidermy (and its tale) with the world!


Museum: Walter Potter at the Museum of Everything

Seven years after it was sold and dispersed across the world, Walter Potter's collection is being reassembled in an exhibition co-curated by Peter Blake.  The displays are being assembled at the reopened Museum of Everything, a pop-up museum in a former Victorian dairy, and  later recording studio, in Primrose Hill, London.

Damien Hirst, who built his international fame on creatures such as his shark, and Sir Peter Blake, who is co-curator of the exhibition, have each lent pieces for the show. Both regard Potter as a genius, and his work as a national treasure which should have been kept together for permanent public display.  Read more here +


Exhibit: Snake Shades

SHADES DOWN IN TOKYO TOWN: An exhibition of crazy eyewear featuring snake glasses by Iris Schieferstein along with Henrik Vilskov, ManfreDu Schu, and others. Artists were commissioned by HEDMANKLING to create sunglasses for imaginary fantastical character.  The exhibition is currently on show at Calm & Punk Gallery in Tokyo and will turn to Long, Gothenburd, and Stockholm in 2011.  Visit the fabulous for more information.   


EVENT: Melissa Milgrom at AMNH

If you happen to be in New York this week, make sure to check out a taxidermy event at the American Museum of Natural History.  Journalist Mellisa Milgrom AMNH museum taxidermist Tim Bovard will take you behind the scenes at the museum to explore the alluring world of taxidermy.  They'll discuss the Museum's world famous dioramas and how Taxidermy relates to contemporary art, conservation and the new Age of Mammals hall. Read more about the event here +

As you probably already know, Milgrom has written extensively on the strange world of taxidermy and has recently published Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy which you can purchase on my reading list here +.


EVENT : Milgrom's Aventures in Taxidermy

Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy

Author talk and gallery social with Melissa Milgrom
Members Free / Nonmembers $20

Thursday, March 18, 6:00 PM

The Harvard Museum of Natural History is home to some of the country’s oldest and most varied collections of taxidermy animals. Join them for a gallery social and talk by author Melissa Milgrom, whose new book Still Life, delves into the colorful world of eccentric naturalists and gifted museum artisans who create the illusion of life through taxidermy. Books will be available for purchase and signing following the talk. Advance registration required. RSVP to   or 617.496.6972.

Read a review of Milgrom's book in the New York Times.


EXHIBIT : Bone of Contention

If you happen to be in Berlin over the next few weeks, make sure to check out Iris Schieferstein's new works in her solo exhibition The Bone of Contention on until March 27th. 

Snakes oozing out of a woman's mouth and around her breasts, naked bodies shrouded in taxidermy, horse hoof shoes, chimeras, plaster pistols and penises ... as always, Schieferstein's work is unsettling, strangely erotic, fantastical, and intensely, intensely provocative.  

Open the Exhibition Portfolio to see more of Schieferstein's exhibition here:


EVENT: Nanoq Screening this Saturday

In celebration of the continuing tour of Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson's nanoq: flat out and bluesome, George Polke invites you for a glass of mulled wine and the screening of nanoq: the journey on Saturday December 12th between 4-6pm.

Between 2002 and 2004 Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson undertook a survey to find every taxidermic polar bear in the UK. In all, thirty-three specimens were traced and photographed in situ. This archive of photographic works also documents the histories of each bear - its place of capture or shooting, the name of the person responsible, the nature or purpose of the expedition, the bear's history in captivity, and its age at death.

Having been exhibited widely in Scandinavia and significantly, at a number of polar museums, the archive is currently touring the UK, opening at the Worcester Museum & Art Gallery this Friday 27 November and at the Manchester Museum on Friday 12 February 2010.

GEORGE POLKE at 3.5 Frederick Terrace London E8 4EW
for further information call Louise 07813306451 or email


EVENT: Animals in Art Symposium

Indiana University Bloomington will host an open-to-the-public mini-symposium titled "Representing Animals in Art" as part of "Themester 2009: Evolution, Diversity and Change," the university's inaugural themed semester and a project of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The two-day event will be presented by Art and Environment (Institute for Advanced Study New Knowledge Seminar) on the Bloomington campus Oct. 29-30.

The symposium begins Thursday, Oct. 29, 6 p.m. with a talk by Rosamond Purcell who will speak on "Holding the Line Between Treasure and Trash." Purcell is a world-renowned photographer, whose most recent book of photographs, Egg & Nest, was a Slate Best Book of the Year. See her books here +

I will be speaking on Friday, October 30th as will Alan Braddock, an assistant professor at Temple University.  

Read more about the symposium here +


EXHIBIT: Furniture as Trophy

On show now at MAK (Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art) in Vienna is the exhibition “Furniture as Trophy" featuring an array of furniture made from animal bits.  On show is a medieval antler chandelier from the Czech Republic, the Swiss architect LeCorbousier's foal-covered armchair - known as "Basculant," an Inuit hunting stool made of seal bones and skin, and a table made from giraffe bone.  Also featured are new objects by designers Helmut Palla (chairs pictured below) and Micha Brendel. 


Visit MAK here +


An event of interest for those in Brooklyn

Mr. Deans will be unveiling new trophies from his recent
hunting and fishing expedition to uncharted lands.

The players:
Lord Whimsy..... exhibiting oddities both living and dead
Ancestral Diet...soundscapes from the depths of Earth, Tooth, and Fog...
Lady Circus... there’s no telling what these ladies will do...
Madame Blair improvisational master leads us through her tangled melodies

Glasslands Gallery. 7pm. Only $6
289 Kent Avenue, between South 2nd and South 1st streets.
Take the L train to Bedford Avenue, and walk towards the water.
$5 if you RSVP to


Moose Turnstile

Old news but still good news...

In January 2006, BGL - the collective name of artists Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière - presented the installationSe la jouer commercial (esthétique de présentation) at Montreal’s Art Mûr gallery.

Part commentary on consumer culture, part nod towards funfair extravaganza, visitors were required to enter the gallery through a turnstile. But no ordinary metal bar turnstile.  Hardly.  Nothing so drearily-trite as that.  This was a full bodied, real stuffed moose turnstile.  Visitors were required to grab whatever moose-part was closest and push the moose around.  

Read more here +

And also more about BGL in a Canadian Art article from 2006 here +


EXHIBIT: Creature Discomforts

If you happen to be in New Zealand in the next month check out CREATURE DISCOMFORTS: DECORATING WITH DEATH at the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson.  Curator Anna-Marie White explains the exhibition:

Creature Discomforts explores our changing attitudes towards animals as a form of decoration.

It compares the current trend for taxidermy in contemporary art with historic artefacts from public museums and private collections. These include objects such as an albatross foot purse, an armadillo sewing basket, a peacock turban and a kiwi beak brooch – all coveted and glamorous accessories in their time but now considered gruesome relics of a different era.

Check out the exhibition site here +

And a few images of the exhibition:



EVENT: World Taxidermy Championships


For the first time ever, the World Taxidermy Championships are being held in Europe, in Salzburg, Austria to be precise. As ever, the work brims with life.  heh. Check out the official site here:  or for more images and an commentary on the events and people behind the exhibited creatures by Philip Bethge - "Finding Life in Dead Animals" - in the Spiegel (Enligh version online) click here +