Amedeo Modigliani’s mother wrote that at about the age of fifteen the artist attended is first seance. His youthful spiritual and esoteric inclinations took him in the direction of the occult, reflected in this drawing, Portrait of a Medium (1906), made from memory, of a session he attended in Venice, where he studied for two years before coming to Paris.
It’s been more than a few months since the Stephen Romano Gallery closed its location in Dumbo and went in search of a new home, and it has been sorely missed; not only for its unique exhibits of engaging art, and the cutting-edge artists that Romano goes out of his way to promote and support, but for the invaluable sense of community he has helped to cultivate among artists, writers, collectors and fans – which is just indispensable. Fortunately, while the gallery waits to move into a new space, Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum stepped in to offer Stephen Romano the opportunity to curate another fantastic exhibit, Opus Hypnagogia, featuring items from his expansive personal collection as well as new works from many of the artists we’ve gotten to know through him and his gallery over the past year. This is an exciting exhibit!
The Morbid Anatomy Museum is a building that’s easy to spot, thanks to its imposing signage and its excellent corner lot location at Third Avenue and Seventh Street. You really can’t miss it. In addition to a gorgeous second-floor exhibit space, the museum is home to an eclectic gift shop and a lovely tiny café, both of which inhabit the ground floor of the building.
The gift shop also serves as a place of exhibition and education, with its collection of taxidermy animals, specimens and collectible curios. Very fun!
On the second floor, adjoining the exhibit space, you’ll find a fascinating research Library with rare and collectible editions, as well as many glass vitrines showcasing a collection of fascinating medical specimens, Day of The Dead figurines and religious iconography from around the world.
Siamese Baby Ducks
Angel and Devil Day of The Dead Dolls Keep Company with a Collection of Teeth
Be sure to explore the Museum in its entirety during your visit, because there’s something to see and be fascinated by at every turn!
Illustration of Demons from Faust’s Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis
With its inclusion of interconnected themes such as Religion, Horror and the Occult, Opus Hypnagogia, like the Museum itself, is both entertaining and informative. Perhaps the most enchanting and enigmatic item on view, or, rather, protected from handling in a vitrine in the room’s center, is Romano’s personal copy of a rare edition of Doctor Johannes Faust’s Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis, which is an elaborately illustrated book of spells and conjuring, with text written in old German. Fascinating.
Stephen was kind enough to personally page through the book with me so I could photograph some of the drawings. He told me that he outbid a famous Rock Star to become owner of this coveted and legendary grimoire.
Fortunately, he did not have to sell his soul in the process. HA!
These drawings of beasts, demons and creatures are just amazingly detailed, and there are at least a hundred of them.
Being a huge fan of sculptor Kris Kuksi, we were delighted to see a miniature edition of his famous Church Tank, which was created specifically for this exhibit.
One of our favorite artists, Italian painter El Gato Chimney, contributed this large watercolor, as well as several smaller triptychs, which are beautiful and quite collectible.
His work is amazing!
One of the hottest contemporary artists on the scene right now, Martin Wittfooth, contributed this fantastic painting of a dog with ferns coming out of its mouth, which is displayed above a set of occult plaques.
This Scrimshaw Ceremonial Wand, which was actually used as part of authentic incantation ceremonies, is displayed in the case alongside the Faust edition.
Tennessee-based sculptor Matthew Dutton has a couple of his signature pieces in the show, including this Conjoined Demon Skull.
And this Demon created from found objects, which is holding a ceramic statue of a kitty wearing a wizard hat.
Opus Hypnagogia will be on exhibit through October 18th, 2015, and you can call the museum in advance of your visit at (347)799-1017 with any questions. Everyone who works there is very nice.
The Morbid Anatomy Museum is located at 424-A 3rd Avenue (Corner of 7th Street), Brooklyn, NY. Closest Trains are the F and the R. Admission is just $8.00.
Don’t let the fact that this Ouija Board is all cute and pink – and sold by reputable toy manufacturer, HASBRO – fool you into thinking that these things are harmless toys. Effing around with a Ouija Board can unleash the Hounds of Hell all over your naive ass if you’re not careful. Don’t ask me how I know.