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Why Look at Dead Animals? Taxidermy in Contemporary Art

Bateman, Vanessa Mae (2013) Why Look at Dead Animals? Taxidermy in Contemporary Art. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Bateman, Vanessa Mae

Current artists who engage with the historical traditions of taxidermy are producing works that comment on the ways in which animals are regarded and used. This paper specifically focuses on “natural taxidermy” in art: animal objects that blur the boundaries between art and nature. Artists using taxidermied specimens in their work ask the viewer to think about institutional framing of “nature” and animal life in the discourse of natural history, museum display, and our contemporary relationship to the animal specimens that often remain forgotten or neglected in the back rooms of institutions. The Marvelous Museum by Mark Dion (2010) reclaimed “life” in the forgotten “orphans” in the storage rooms of the Oakland Museum of California through museum intervention. The project Nanoq: flat out and bluesome (2001-2006) by artist duo Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson sought to find all remaining taxidermied polar bears in the British Isles and attempted to renegotiate these “animal things” through photography and installation. The interventions these artists make through the use of taxidermy point to our changing historical relationship with animals, and the history of the production of the specimen by regimes of taxonomy, collecting, and display.

Date: May 2013
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2014 18:10
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2021 00:45
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/164

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