Still Life With Cake (1818), a typical still life by Raphaelle Peale (1774 – 1825), the son of Charles Willson Peale, may have been the picture exhibited in 1819 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as Still Life—Wine, Cakes, Grapes, &c. A similar picture dating from the same year is in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Peale’s tightly-grouped still lifes are often permeated with a delicate melancholy akin to that which characterized the life of the artist; he was an alcoholic who suffered the effects of arsenic and mercury poisoning caused by his work as a taxidermist in his father’s museum. His spare, essential style may have been influenced by the Spanish still lifes he studied in Mexico and by the works of Juan Sanchez Cotan, exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1818.
Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
New York-based Chilean designer Sebastian Errazuriz is known for thinking way outside the box. Always on the look-out for interesting materials, he aims to strike a balance of artistic and practical qualities of design, and his sense of humor often ends up in the mix. In this case, Errazuriz obtained the bodies of taxidermy chickens (which died of natural causes) to create these fun and unique Chicken Lamps. Who says upcycling has to be dull?
Mufasa By Joseph Grazi: Taxidermy Bats, Dried Butterflies and Stone Sculpture on Wood Mounted in Plexiglass (All Photos By Gail)
Writing this rad blog has been an excellent way to discover and start to follow the careers of many cool and talented local artists, one of whom is Joseph Grazi, who creates fresh artworks by mixing taxidermy with classic statuary, juxtaposed with pristine colored pencil and graphite renderings, and giving the result a slight twist in perspective. Joseph Gross Gallery is currently hosting Cecil: A Love Story, Grazi’s latest body of work, which is a multimedia exhibition that examines the public’s erratic moral compass in the wake of highly publicized tragedies.
On August 15, 2015 the world learned through a flurry of rage posts populating social media newsfeeds that the (until then widely unknown) Zimbabwean icon Cecil the Lion had been killed by a trophy hunter. The hunter responsible, a white, privileged dentist named Walter Palmer, had become the most hated man on the planet overnight.
Cecil: A Love Story scrutinizes the public’s alarmingly inconsistent morals, particularly in relation to animals. Through various media, Grazi creates a dialogue surrounding how we perceive and process atrocities committed against human beings versus those against animals.
Why did killing of Cecil the Lion by Walter Palmer make frontpage news over a terrorist attack that happened in the same week? Why did Jimmy Kimmel cry over the death of Cecil, but not after 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram?
Having worked with lions in Africa for a period of time, the artist brings an informed perspective to the exhibition that contrasts the suburban American mentality surrounding wildlife. Wildlife, the artist argues, is a human construction. People say “don’t play God,” but rather, he states, “we already are God.” The wilds are only wild because humans allow it to exist.
False Prophet 1 (left) Installation Detail
Further, Joseph Grazi investigates what it is specifically about lions that has infatuated humans throughout history. A timeless tradition and continuous obsession, with imagery carved into ancient churches to the modern suburban home – the exhibition begs the question “why are lions so special?” It dives deep into our
collective consciousness to discover why Cecil, of all creatures and all lions, was deemed so extraordinary.
Artist Joseph Grazi with Joseph Gross Gallery Director, Lynzy Blair, at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception
Cecil: A Love Story By Joseph Grazi will be on Exhibit Through October 31st, 2016 at Joseph Gross Gallery, located at 548 W 28th St, Ground Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
A Paracosm is a detailed imaginary world created inside one’s mind. Such a fantasy world may involve humans, animals and things that exist in reality, or it may also contain entities that are entirely imaginary, alien and otherworldly. Commonly having its own geography, history and languages, the experience of such a parascosm is often developed during childhood and continues over a long period of time: months or even years.
Paracosms are also made reference to as types of childhood creativity and problem-solving. Some believe that paracosm play indicates high intelligence. In his installation entitled Midnight Paracosm, Tennessee-based artist Matthew Dutton is creating his own world of creative play. And if you are already familiar with Dutton’s delightfully disturbing found object sculptures, you will understand that this tableau represents exactly what is going on in his mind most of the time.
Taxidermy Deer with Santa Mask and Wig/Beard
My Absolute Favorite: Hula Baby in a Birdcage with Blonde Fall
People say to me all the time, “Gail, where do you find the amazing Pink Things you put on your blog?” And I say to them: “I find the everywhere!” This pair of Taxidermy White Rats driving a Hot Pink Sports Car (yes, I just typed that) was spotted in the gift shop at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn. I did not ask if it was actually for sale.
It is obvious that they are about to drive off the edge of a “cliff,” all Thelma and Louise-style.