Frogs in Jars and Skeletons at Tables (and other States of Decay)

Says "Boston artist Rosamond Purcell repurposes the old, the burnt, and the mangled."

They (Slate) have a slide show about/from Purcell's new book, Bookworm. Check it out here. Go ahead. I'll wait. No worries.

Okay, now you're back.

The first caption notes:

Over the years, Boston artist Rosamond Purcell has photographed goliath beetles and translucent bats culled from the backrooms of natural history museums; a collection of teeth pulled by Peter the Great; moles flayed by naturalist Willem Cornelis van Heurn; and scores of worn and weathered objects, like the termite-eaten book and fish skeleton at right.

And then there are 11 excellent images. Here is one:


(Tasty, no?)

Bookworm, they tell us, "recasts mangled texts as works of art." Purcell had collaborated with Stephen Jay Gould in the 1980s (no, not in the same way Cndi Lauper collaborated with Captain Lou Albana in the '80s), featuring "photographs of natural-history specimens chosen from the backrooms of collections like Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology."

The key for The World's Fair is that, again as noted by Slate, "Purcell plays up the aesthetic potential of scientific specimens." And that's right up our alley.

Links from the slide whow lead one here, to Konrad Gesner's Historiae Animalium from the 1500s, to this image of "Teeth Pulled by Peter the Great" (from Purcell's 1992 collection), and to another Slate slide show about Body Art that includes Andreas Vesalius, from De Humani Corporis Fabrica, 1543, as shown below:


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Hullo Professor Cohen,

Ms. Purcell is very impressive! Check out her other books too, they are also fascinating, right up your alley and mine too.

Nicely done post!