So, here you have Helmut Dick's performance piece which was presented during "Art Rotterdam" in 2006. The half man-half sheep creature strolled around the art show in silence. Or, at least I presume he (it? they?) was silent.
See more here: http://www.helmutdick.de/
Montreal celebrity chef Martin Picard has published an eery cookbook that not only contains highly canivorous recipes but also offers presentation suggestions. The ode to Canadiana and its Québécois traditions includes recipes for “Confederation Beaver” — stripped of its sacs, stuffed with its own tail and steeped in hot water — and “Squirrel Sushi” — with the paws, tail and head saved for presentation.
You'd think by now I would have seen it all, but then along comes a cowboy squirrel flashing his nuts. I could break this down and discuss the anthropomorphic misuses of squirrels. But really, you don't want to read that. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
I haven't seen this program, but it looks like a gobsmacker.
I guess taxidermy makes good television. Over the last few months I've been contacted by half a dozen American and British television producers and programs with an interest to develop series about taxidermy collectors. Do you have a strange assortment of unexpected beasts? Have you seen a collection I should forward along? Let me know, and who knows ... you could see your very own ravishing beasts on television.
Enter "taxidermy" into a google search, and you never quite know what you are going to find. For example, there is the story about David Morales Colón. He was shot in his San Juan neighborhood last year. Rather than display Colón in a traditional casket, for his wake the morticians at the Marin Funeral Home displayed his body riding a Honda motocycle complete with leather pants and sunglasses. And yes, this is real.
Check out Puerto Rico's official Christmas postcard from the Mayor of Puerto Rico, Jorge Santini, and his family. Apparently, the taxidermied violence is a visual statement of the Mayor's support the San Juan Wildlife Museum. Or maybe it's a coded warning to his political rivals.
Yes, that's right. Taxidermy is making it into the land of music videos. James McNicholas of Worker Records just sent me this music video of The Erratic Man featuring the taxidermy collection of Alexis Turner. Make sure to stay turned for the singing animals. Apparently those are the lips of singer Bnann Watts. You'd think by now I would be dulled to the wierdness that surrounds taxidermy, but no. There is always something new that takes the taxidermy cake.
Some of the animals have actually made a number of media appearances already. The bear appeared on the red carpet at the "Borat" Film Premiere, the white dove in flight is currently in a window display at Harrods, the stag's head has appeared in various films including Sherlock Holmes and Wolfman. Go figure.
I don't know why I find this so strange, but I really, really do - Martha Stewart has a spread on taxidermy. I know the old school practice has gone mainstream, but I hadn't realised it was this pervasive.
Read the comments -- as ever, taxidermy is completely polarising and generates either complete outrage, shock, and disgust or aesthetic ecstasy. Bold move Martha.
Love it or hate it but check it out at http://www.marthastewart.com/853388/my-home-yours-taxidermy
I love it when readers send me the strangest things they encounter, and this one is pretty darn strange. I received an e-mail from Sarah Jacobs who is an artist doing a residency in Cali, Colombia. On her own, Jacobs is pretty fascinating - she is doing research on drug lord menageries for her art. It seems that a proper Colombian criminal must have a proper set of beasts: ocelots, lions, baboons, ostriches. But, as you might expect, the beasts don't always fair so well. And this is where Ana Julia Torres and her camel-kissing comes into the picture.
Torres runs a refuge for animals. Most of them have been rescued from drug traffickers and warloads - can you believe this? When a cocaine trafficker is murdered, his ocelots go to Torres. She currently has around 800 beasts and birds. There is the Bengal tiger who ate executed prisoners (at least one hopes they were dead before meeting the tiger), a three-legged puma (not born that way), a near lifeless lion that was fed a diet of narcotics. Read more about Torres and see a video of the sanctuary here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/31/world/americas/31colombia.html
I'm getting to the point ... Visitors are not usually allowed in the Sanctuary but persistence and a bag of fish food for the ostrich finally won Jacobs entry. The animals were all as you would expect, but it was the taxidermy that stopped Jacobs in her tracks.
In Jacobs' own words:
"Many dozens of badly taxidermy animals fall all over one another. They are former animal residents of the sanctuary, so many are deformed from abuse. Others are deformed from time. The ostrich with no head stands next to an encased monkey. Its detached head rests upon the case. (see left side of image below) Because the display is under a roof in a deck leaves have blown in nearly covering most of the animals, many of which have fallen over, or almost appear to have been tossed in."
"I'm trying to understand the point of this. The man giving us the tour tried to tear me away from it, but I got several photos. Apparently these animals were stuffed either because she loved them so much as pets that she didn't want to see them go, or she wanted to preserve the ways in which they had been mutilated by former owners to prove the cruelty of humans after the wronged animals were no longer alive to prove it themselves."
Not taxidermy, but fun nonetheless. Here is Ghyslain Bertholon's installation in the gardens of the Hotel de Sully, as the as part of Monuments and Animals installation series. Read more here: http://www.pariscotejardin.fr/2011/04/taupologie-a-lhotel-sully-paris-4e-75/
Check out Iris Schierferstein's latest interview about here work in Obsession in Vogue here: http://obsession-in-vogue.blogspot.com/2011/06/interview-with-iris-schieferstein.html
Lilli Cowley-Wood (illustrator and screen-printer) met Jazmine Miles -Long (ethical taxidermist) in 2010 and they decided to use their mutual passion for British wildlife to create what they call their Taxidermy Textiles.
Check out their work on Supermarket Sarah: http://supermarketsarah.com/
Make what you will of this one ...
I don't know why, I can't quite explain it, but I've become a tad obsessed with badly taxidermied parrots. That said, I've been slightly obsessed with parrots alive or dead for quite some time. I like reading parrot stories. I collect old natural history prints of parrots. I've visited a parrot refuge with nearly a thousand parrots, and got into it with a hyacinth macaw. Currently, I'm winding my way through Buffon's vastly too large section on parrots published in his classic natural history. In fact, I do believe a forthcoming writing project will focus quite precisely on the parrot world. Here's my latest sad parrot find.
Thanks to Peter Hosking for sending me this NPR link: http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2011/02/02/133377909/taxidermy
Found in the archives of the American Museum of Natural History by Rich Remsberg, the short silent movie shows Carl Akeley -- one of America's greatest turn of the century taxidermists -- going step by step through the process of preparing an elephant. Strange viewing, to be sure.
I was sent this image during the summer and posted it as my picture of the week, thinking it was "just" an example of decoratively utilitarian taxidermy. But these squirrels and stoats were actually part of a marketing/product sexification for a Scottish beer company best know for its excessively stiff beers. At 55%, BrewDog's End of History ale will certainly put hair on your chest -- better yet, twelve bottles were packaged in taxidermied vermin - 7 stoats, 4 squirrels, and 1 hare. The bottles were sold for 500 pounds each. Fair enough.
Check out the eccentricities of BrewDog in a short video posted on the blog site at http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/341. According to the video below, a battle has been brewing between Scottish and German beer makers for the title of world's strongest beer. A man dressed as a stoat is killed with a German sausage, which provokes other forest furries to assist the Scottish beer makers in brewing up something spectacularly strong.