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A Healthy Mania for the Macabre
The Chronicle of Higher Education (2012)
  • Stephen T Asma, Columbia College Chicago

The article discusses the fascination with death in art in response to several exhibits which display preserved human bodies, such as the "Body Worlds" traveling exhibit which features human bodies preserved with silicon after an acetone bath, a technique discovered by medical scientist Gunther von Hagens. The author looks at human curiosity with morbidity and artists such as Damien Hirst that use it as the focus of their work. Topics include comments by Richard Harris, creator of "Morbid Curiosity" exhibition in Chicago, Illinois, art historian Paul Koudounaris, and the beauty of death and morbidity according to New York artist and curator Joanna Ebenstein. Also discussed is the book "Controversial Bodies: Thoughts on the Public Display of Plastinated Corpses," edited by John D. Lantos.

  • human body exhibitions,
  • death in art,
  • Richard Harris,
  • human anatomy,
  • preservation of organs
Publication Date
August 13, 2012
Citation Information
Stephen T Asma. "A Healthy Mania for the Macabre" The Chronicle of Higher Education Vol. 58 Iss. 44 (2012)
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