The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Goshka Macuga Somnambulist, 2006
Carved wood, fibreglass, real hair, fabric clothes


Paul Fryer Lilith, 2008
Paul Fryer is a London-based artist who humanizes biblical figures by giving them tortured bodies. Among his sculptural installations are Lucifer tangled in telegraph cords, Jesus in an electric chair, and winged Lilith pinned down like a taxidermy insect. Fryer depicts pain and human fallibility, brilliantly dethroning Christian icons to make them more tangible, commiserable, and flawed.


Christina Bothwell Little Dream, 2015
There is an unsettling merging of both fragility and permanence throughout Christina’s work: tomb-like bodies forged in stone and glass, yet rendered vulnerable by their transparency. One feels like a guilty voyeur, being allowed to peer into spaces not usually exposed.


Sam Jinks Untitled (Drowned boy), 2013
silicone, pigment, resin and human hair


IRWIN Corpse of Art. 2003
The work is a response to the commentary of one critic who declared a series of Malevich’s recordings, reinterpretations, and appropriations a corpse of art (as opposed to the live artistic value of the original). Irwin took this declaration literally and reconstructed the body of Kazimir Malevich in his coffin according to the photograph taken in the House of the Artist Union in Leningrad in 1935. The artist is laid out in a coffin designed by Suetin according to Malevich’s architectons and planits (which are models of his utopian architecture). The lid of the coffin is decorated with a circle and a square, the frontal view of the coffin reveals his famous cross. Above the corpse, Malevich’s painting Black Square is displayed, and next to the corpse there stands a vase of lilies.


Arseny Zhilyaev Yuri-1, fragmet of Cradle of Humankind, 2015
The installation depicts an unsettling imaginary image of a far-off future in which humans have spread into outer space that changed the role of the Earth. The planet was abandoned and turning into a museum-reservation called ‘The Cradle of Humankind’, dedicated to the origins of life and civilization. The reservation is part of a network of museums commemorating historic figures and key events in the history of civilization. Museum presents artifacts from the imaginary past and weird merging the aesthetics of Russian Cosmim that inspired Soviet space program with the ultimate commodification of ultimate capitalism, a modernistic aspiration to radical innovation with a preservation impulse of Orthodox Christianity.


John Miller The Corpse, 2006
What’s in a corpse? Well, food, of course. At the end of Satyricon, the Roman novel that might have been written by Nero’s arbiter elegantiae, or fashion advisor, the will of an old man who has died and who might have left a vast fortune is read to a group of fortune hunters. In order to have access to his wealth, they are told, they have to eat his dead body. In Fellini’s Satyricon, this ending of the book, which is extant only in fragments, is quite a prominent scene. Some of those seeking the inheritance actually feast on the body. They get to stay and take part in the wealth left behind. Their long search by ship, conjuring up Odysseus’s search for a return home, is over. The others, however, repulsed by the idea, and thinking that it might also be a ruse to deliberately subject them to ridicule and shame, get back on the ship and continue their journey, probably destined to arrive nowhere.


Julien Ceccaldi Hooded Corpse, 2018
skeleton model, melted plastic, chicken wire, synthetic wig, hoodie, underwear, socks, slipper and woodstain, and acrylic paint


Rebecca Stevenson Rapture, 2018
polyester, resin, and wax


He Xiangyu The Death of Marat, 2011
Chinese artist He Xiangyu created a life-size fiberglass sculpture of dissident artist Ai Wei Wei’s corpse lying contorted face down on the ground. The title of the work ‘The Death of Marat’ refers to the 18th century portrait by Jaques-Louis David of the French revolutionary leader murdered in his bath. In a similar vein, His work reflects the political persecution of progressive thinkers and artists who have been silenced and imprisoned; hence, the choice to use Ai, most well-known for his openly critical stance against the Chinese government.


Kiki Smith Untitled, 1990
Untitled is one of Smith’s earliest forays into large-scale sculpture using wax, a medium that would occupy her for years. Two dead figures, one male and one female, hang limply from adjacent poles; milk drips from the woman’s breasts and semen runs down the man’s legs.


Shen Shaomin The Day After Tomorrow, 2011
silica gel simulation, acrylic and fabric


Honorata Martin Moment, 2015
In a performance made in January 2015 the artist walked into the Radunia canal in Gdańsk, wearing a shirt that once belonged to her friend Emilia who died tragically. She stayed in the cold water long enough to lose the ability to move, collapse, immerse herself completely and let her body float freely.


Teresa Margolles and SEMEFO Self portraits in the morgue, 1998
In the series Autorretratos en la Morgue/Self-Portraits in the Morgue, the artist as a figure here walks a precarious tightrope cross-referencing the clinic via her white lab coat and (social) scientific gaze (again the accessorizing sign of the artist’s accreditation in forensic medicine and science). As such, Margolles’s presence in the images keys traditions of (self-)portraiture, including or perhaps those within performance art, which locate the female body as a ripe, rife force field for resignification and cross-subjective identification. Notably, if clichéd critiques of the female self-portrait question the genre’s narcissism, Margolles’s Autorretratos en la Morgue/ Self-Portraits in the Morgue exude a “subversive narcissism” to present the body/self with disinterested interest.


Käthe Kollwitz Woman with Dead Child, 1903
“When he was seven years old and I was working on the sculpture ‘Woman with Dead Child’, I did a drawing of myself, holding my youngest son Peter on my arm, in front of the mirror. That was very exhausting and I groaned. Then he said in his little child’s voice: Stop groaning, mum, it is going to be very beautiful … “


Theodore Gericault Preparatory Paintings for the Raft of the Medusa, 1818
Théodore Géricault is well known French Romantic painter and the auteur of the famous Raft of the Medusa. The series of the preparatory paintings for his master piece, were naturalistic renderings of the morgue scenes of human remains in different stages of decomposition. His bizarre practice of stashing the abandoned and rotten corpse parts under his bed and at his atelier is far more terrifying and disturbing than his visual explorations.


Javier Pérez Carroña, 2014
The glass artwork, aptly named ‘Carroña,’ depicts a gruesome scene between crows and their ripped apart meal. Pérez uses a blood red chandelier laying on top of broken red shards of glass to create the main focal point. When put together it portrays a scene of carrion being torn apart by crows.


THE KID Too Young To Die, 2013
Vinyl, oil-paint, various materials


Unknown Rattle in the form of a bloated hanging corpse, A.D. 650–850
Late Classic Maya, Ceramic


Jeffrey Silverthorne Morgue, 1972-73
The photographs in Jeffrey Silverthorne’s new book Morgue, were made in 1972 and 1973, at the state morgue of Rhode Island. The 22 large-format photographs of corpses are intimate but discreet. In Silverthorne’s postscript to the book, he notes that when he made these photographs, he was 25 years old, had been married for four years, his second child had just been born and “the Vietnam War was still flowering death. Change and death were in the air, and the morgue was where I could find physical evidence.”

Boy hit by car

Crib Death

Boy found in bushes


Meghan Smythe Young Unbecoming, 2019
Interested in capturing “elegant vulgarity,” Meghan Smythe sculpts creamy-hued bodies out of ceramic, plaster, and plasticine, crushing them together into shocking erotic dramas of human life; amid scattered bones are bold erections, suggesting the savage interplay between sex and death. Smythe’s mutilations of the body make visible the messy processes that come with being alive.


Anthony Noel Kelly Guilded Man, 1997
Anthony-Noel Kelly is a British artist who made casts of dissected body parts for an exhibition at the London Contemporary Art Fair in 1997. The problem was is that he stole anatomical specimens from the Royal College of Surgeons to fabricate the molds for his morbid sculptures.

Between 1991 and 1994 Kelly persuaded Niel Lindsay, a junior technician at the Royal College of Surgeons, to sneak out the remains from dozens of bodies. In all they stole three heads, three torsos, bits of brain, six arms, and a number of legs and feet.

When he got the body parts back to his studio, Kelly created the molds and produced a series of plaster casts that were painted silver and hung on a wall. When he completed the scupltures, rather than return the body parts, Kelly buried remains on his family’s estate, hid them in the London home of a friend, and in the attic of his own home.

Police began investigating Kelly in 1997 after his exhibit received controversial publicity. During police raids at his London studio, his family’s home, and his friend’s home, police found the body parts that Kelly had hidden. In 1998, he was found guilty and sentenced to nine months in prison. Niel Lyndsay, the lab technician who aided him, received a six-month suspended sentence.


Ugo Rondinone If There Were Anywhere But Desert, Friday, 2002
fiberglass, paint, clothing, glitter


Simon Flores Dead Child, 1902
This was painted by Simon Flores on 1902. This is his way of showing people how to love life. This is his reminder of mortality. The image of a dead child shows that life is short and we should live it to the fullest. This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with this painting. Another reason why I like this painting is because of the child’s facial expression. Though she is dead, it looks as if she is smiling, showing that life after death is good. Well, that’s my interpretation of the painting. I’m not really sure of the real interpretation of this painting.


Berlinde De Bruyckere In Flanders Fields, 2000
horse skin, polyester, metal, plastic, blankets


Eugenio Merino Here Died Warhol, 2018
Here Died Warhol is a haunting sculpture of Andy Warhol‘s corpse. Merino encourages gallery-goers to take selfies with the artwork in an attempt to debunk the moneymaking business of celebrity and tourism. Accompanying the sculpture is a fully-operating souvenir shop that allegedly purveys a range of Warhol-related keepsakes.


Sun Yuan & Peng Yu Angel, 2008
The Internet is freaking out over a a fiberglass angel sculpture by artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu—complete with flesh-covered wings, white hair, and frighteningly realistic skin that features details like wrinkles, sunspots, and peach fuzz. Angel, which was originally created in 2008, was previously on view at Saatchi Gallery in London. Last week it was installed in Beijing, and has since sparked a series of Internet rumors. A headline for the website Entertainment Express reads: “SHOCKING! A Fallen Angel With No Feathers Discovered,” while ZonNews published “BREAKING NEWS: Real Life Fallen Angel Has Fallen From The Sky In London.” Other websites have claimed the sculpture was “found” in Texas.


Maurizio Cattelan All, 2008
Maurizio Cattelan’s All is a row of nine marble statues. Each is a figure draped in fabric, but these are strange bodies, Nothing is quite where it should be. It takes time for the oddness to permeate and open up a new question of quite what these figures looked like. Why do heads seem to rise from the place where the chest should be? How did that arm get there, especially if that’s where the shoulder is?




p.s. Hey. So, we’re back. Long story short, my blog got suspended because it had exceeded WordPress’s storage limit. I had no idea that there was a limit until the blog was suddenly shut down without warning. It took a couple of days to find a way to get inside the blog’s storage remotely — as WordPress wouldn’t let me get inside in the normal way — and delete enough material — all from currently dead, potentially to-be-restored posts — to get the blog back online. So, I’m going to need to go through the archives and delete as much unnecessary stuff as I can to give the blog space to keep growing. The only other option would mean migrating the blog to a different platform, but that would mean I’d need to restore each post one by one by hand like I had to do when Google killed the blog’s last incarnation, and there’s no way I’m going to go through that again. And that’s the story. Sorry for the blackout, but everything is back to normal again for now. ** Misanthrope, Hi. My tax guy is supposedly on it, so I’m waiting to hear from him about what needs to be done. Glad your mom made it through the scan. Do you have the results yet? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Wow, that’s a lot of adoring. ** Conrad, Hey, Conrad! Really good to see you, man! I’m happy you liked the music gig and the Liz Craft post. Ha ha, yeah, that ‘Too Cool for School’ article lead to me being not rehired by UCLA because the school’s higher ups were angry that I mentioned the students doing drugs. Oops. That time at UCLA was dreamy. Charles Ray was a phenomenal and innovative teacher, and that’s why so many of his students have gone on to be fascinating and even quite successful artists in many cases. Plus Chris Burden, Paul McCarthy, Morgan Fisher, and other great artists were teaching there at the same time. But it was a rare thing. I’ll try to hear the Grandrieux talk, although my French is probably too shitty to get it. ‘Un lac’ is great! I can’t wait for Le Clef to reopen, but fuck knows when they finally will. Take care, buddy! ** Dominik, Hi! Ha ha, it’s funny you said that the blog was okay when it was about to get very not okay for a couple of days. I swear this blog is cursed or something. I just use social media to announce blog posts and stuff about film screenings or things to do with my books and stuff and share things I really like. It’s extremely rare that I ever even comment on anybody else’s posts. I just don’t want to get pulled into the trolling and stupid fighting and so on. But it works well in that limited way, and I do find out about a lot of really interesting books and art and music and films and so on there. So it’s worth it. Hm, good to know about semen eating, although … mm, I don’t know, ha ha. My week, of course, got totally fucked up by having to de-suspend the blog. That ate up my days pretty much. But now I’m free again, so I’m going to see a friend and work on stuff, and Interview Magazine is doing a big article on my new novel, so I have to do a photo shoot in a few hours. Not looking forward to that. How have your last few days been? I should have said your Godzilla stomping would be as graceful as a ballet dancer’s so you could could pick and choose what tiny things you want to smash. Your sloth sanctuary-based love sounds very appealing at the moment. Love inspiring me to go full on Black Metal style with corpse makeup for my photo shoot, G. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. How have your days been? ** Shane Christmass, Howdy, Shane. Oh, and thanks a lot for sending that pdf. It looks great! ** Jeff J, Happy hear it, man. I’ve heard a handful of tracks from the Psychic Hotline compilation, and I liked them all, yeah. Yes, the new GbV single is of course already lodged in my head, and the new Iceage is swell, I agree. I hear you about days not for the books. I’m glad you moved some inches on the novel and, naturally, that Stephanie is doing great post-op. ** Steve Erickson, Hi, Well, ha ha, the only nice thing about the suspension was that it stopped the hacking alert emails for a while. In fact, the only reason I knew the blog was back online was that my email box suddenly started getting bombarded again. God knows. I did hear and like Dry Cleaning’s Grimes cover, much more than the original. I’m happy that some of the tunes found favor with you. Ah, … Everyone, Mr. Erickson weighs in on the Lil Nas X video and song right here. ** Okay. It seems somehow appropriate that the blog’s return to form coincides with a post about corpses, or, in most cases, faux-corpses. See you tomorrow.


  1. Sheree Rose

    I loved “Corpses” but I was disappointed that you left out “Video Coffin” 1994, by Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose, part of “Visiting Hours” at Santa Monica Museum of Art and New Museum of Art , New York. It was an interactive piece, where Bob’s head was visible in a coffin, and as viewers moved closer to see him, their own face appeared on the screen! Around the monitor was the quote, in Latin, “What you are, I once was. What I am you will be !”

  2. Dominik


    Yeah, damn, I said the same thing to myself, haha. I hope the blog really is all right now! Some forces do seem intent on making your experience with it pretty… rough. I’m sorry you had to deal with this.

    I think a lot depends on what you want to use social media for. My hardships mostly come from the fact that I naturally use it the way you do – to feature short updates and get information/news about stuff I’m interested in – but now, I’m trying to build an account that helps my freelance career grow, and it’s completely different and requires all kinds of marketing skills I sorely lack. For now, at least.

    My last couple of days have been pretty quiet compared to the psycho thesis period, but I’m not complaining. I’ve started watching a new documentary series about John Wayne Gacy yesterday, and so far, I find it a lot better than most of the previous ones I’ve seen.

    How was… uh… the photo shoot? (If your love came true, I’d definitely love to see the photos immediately, haha!) Congratulations, though, on the big article!!

    Love buying you Jeffrey Silverthorne’s book, “Morgue,” because that’s what he likes the most from today’s post (although the competition was tough), and he thinks you might like it quite a bit too, Od.

  3. Ian

    Hey Dennis. Hope yr having a groovy zombie Jesus weekend. I, and I’m sure everyone, is happy to have the blog back in my life. Really enjoyed yr post about Liz craft the other day. Especially the man with long hair. Today I think Lilith is most beautiful.
    All’s well in mtl. Finished our roofing module and have started on exterior finishing. I am nearly finished reading The Good Soldier Schweik. First thing I’ve ever read by a Czech author and it’s pretty funny.
    My own creative output has been at a standstill the last month. I am sending lots of emails trying to get some traction with my novel but not getting anything promising back. Oh well, such is life, and other cliches.
    Take care, Ian

  4. Misanthrope

    Dennis, Well, look who’s back…and with a real pick-me-up post too! 😉

    So…my dad, the last month of his life, looked like total hell in that hospital. After he died, we went to the funeral home and they let us see him one last time, and you know what? He looked great. Weirdest thing.

    Looking at these today, I realized how horrible my corpse is going to look if I ever die, which I don’t plan on doing.

    Thanks. Yeah, the scan results are still pending. My mom called yesterday, and the receptionist was like, um, give the doc time to go over them and you’ll get a call back. Well, they never called back. I suspect she’ll get that call today. But like my mom said, the urgency with which the scan was ordered and done…kinda doesn’t mesh with this cavalier attitude toward getting her the info she needs re: the scan results.

    Kinda like if you go to restaurant here and the waiter is constantly buggin you throughout but when it’s time to pay you can’t find them for like 15 minutes. Ugh.

    But we’re patient people. See that?! “Patient,” hehehe.

    Have the best weekend you can. I see France is back in another country-wide lockdown. What’s going on? Why aren’t people complying with the masking and distancing over there?

    Oh, and are you getting that vaccine any time soon?

  5. Paul Curran

    Dennis, Great to see the blog’s recent disappearance was merely a blip, albeit a major pain! AND absolutely perfect rebirth post! Yes, all that data dying in the internet is something I haven’t though much about for a while until recently. Hope things have been going okay otherwise. Things have been good here. Still semi-lockdown, but I’ve been off work and getting some writing done. Finished the Infinity Land piece and Expat 4 officially out now. Also been making good J-novel progress, and think I’ve got it pretty much in line to complete a draft this year… also finally got round to converting or re-digitising these old DVD files from VHS of my first and worst heavy metal band from 1984 (Tungsten) when I was 14. Put it together as a full movie with band footage, interviews, and previews on YouTube, kind of a cross between Gummo and the Song Remains the Same, pure pre-social media 80s suburban madness… Perfect timing for the return of DCs!… Tungsten Live at Bunting Court (1984) – The Worst Heavy Metal Band Ever (Full Movie)! Love to you, Paul

  6. David Ehrenstein

    And we’re back!

    Nice decor today.

    Next toimpossible to differentiate a Ded Andy from a Live one.

  7. Chris Kelso

    Hi Dennis,

    Another fascinating blog post – glad you were able to de-suspend it! Just finished chatting with Paul K on the Wake Island podcast (your ears must have been birning). We were meant to talk about ‘Burroughs and Scotland’, but wound up just discussing how amazing you are as a writer, human-being, and influencer. I think it drops in a week. I can send you a link if you like? 😁


  8. Bill

    Welcome back Dennis. Sorry to hear about the current batch of technical glitches.

    I’m familiar with only a few of today’s artists (and I do look out for this stuff, haha). I was guessing the Sam Jinks piece was by Ron Mueck. I’ve only seen Shen Shaomin’s fantastic bone sculptures; I like the more meaty pieces here, very nicely done. Those Jeffrey Silverthorne photos are beautiful, but the Morgue book fetches good prices these days.

    It’s bandcamp Friday, but you probably won’t see this before it’s over.


  9. T

    Hi Dennis!

    Hello! Very pleased that the blog is back, hoping that your metaphorical gore-tex is keeping you warm, dry and impervious against (what must be) the driving rain of inconvenience, continuing lockdown and assorted tech irritation. Here I’m not so bad, I took the opportunity to travel back to my hometown for a fortnight and get a change of scene which has done me some good. Given I have more free time than usual on my hands, I downloaded one of the books you recommended recently, Shane Jones’ the Crystal-Eaters. I’ve got a little way into it so far, but I’m really vibing with it, there’s a certain quality about the prose that’s really captivating but I can’t quite express it. I guess it’s…textural? Almost like the surface of a crystal, you could say!

    Among today’s corpses, my favourites were those which were exploded/ruptured in some way (Meghan Smythe, Javier Perez, Rebecca Stephenson), the ones which riffed on deified/celebrity bodies, or those which had some kind of performative aspect (Eugenio Merino, Honorata Martin). Oh wait, that seems to cover almost all of them then, haha. Plus I guess that even if a lot of the other sculptures weren’t expressly designated as ‘performative’, I imagine they must have created a unique vibe regardless within the audience, given squeamishness about encountering (the likeness of) a corpse.

    In other words – very glad the blog is back!

    T 🙂

  10. _Black_Acrylic

    How apt that the blog should be resurrected on Easter Weekend! With a Corpses post too, no less.

    This has been a trying few days for me here at the hospital too. Full disclosure, I was down with a urinary tract infection that left me immobile and barely conscious for much of last weekend. The upshot is that I’ve kicked black coffee altogether for the time being, and am now on a diet of decaf green tea. No great loss as the NHS instant coffee they constantly supply you with here is rank anyway. Antibiotics is my poison right now.

    I was nominated to select a 30-track Spotify playlist for a Facebook music group called Us & Them so here it is, “an attempt to resolve some contradictions I hear between underground dance music such as acid house and the simple joys of pop.”

  11. Jack Skelley

    Dennis Tennis anyone? Glad you’re back! Many PEEPS panicked when the error message popped. How many? Many many many many many many, reproducing like Easter rabbits. Hope the remainder of a possibly stressy week was more like a Tuileries Garden pastry with sprinkles on top. And that your weekend is a delish chocolate bunny (Hollow Inside, like the Buzzocks song) surrounded by marshmallow PEEPS of peace, love and vernal renewal !!

  12. David Ehrenstein

    Bill Reed turned 80 today (YIKES!)

    Here’sone of his favorite songs

    Plus —

    It’s marvin Gaye’s Birthday too

  13. Steve Erickson

    Great to see the blog back with a new entry today!

    The angel sculpture made me wonder if you’ve done a day devoted to supposed cryptid corpses.

  14. Brian

    Yay, you’re back, Dennis!

    I am always, always astonished by these art posts, and I seldom ever know what to say in response to them. They sort of speak for themselves, I guess. I suppose I’ll particularly highlight the Silverthorne stuff. I expect it to show up in my nightmares. But everything here is equally amazing. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

    Yes, “Kindertotenlieder” utterly fascinates me. I’m happy it’s being revived, and would love to somehow be able to experience it one day, eventually. It interests me just as much as your other work. In the meantime I’ll look forward to “Crowd”, hoping COVID nonsense doesn’t get in the way, of course. Yeah, I might transfer schools. My family really wants me out of the house, lol. (Which is probably the right thing.) If the school I’m currently at remains online come fall I might switch to somewhere else. But really it’s more of a “keeping my options open” sort of thing. We’ll see. I have never read “Story of the Eye” or any Bataille before, no. It’s been on my list for a long long time. I’m terribly excited to read it, but it hasn’t arrived yet, unfortunately. In the meantime I read “The Incest Diary”. Absolutely harrowing book. One of the most important I’ve ever read on the topic of sexual abuse, I think. Have you heard of it? It kicked up quite a controversy when it was released a few years ago. “Omori” is shaping up to be pretty great. My understanding of it so far is that it’s a sort of grim horror game in the clothes of a cutsey adventure game. It’s fun to play, speaking as a non-gamer myself; the art is beautiful and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. Damn, that’s unfortunate about the Switch. Has it arrived since we last spoke? Hope so. Or if not, that your week has been a blast anyway. Have a perfectly lovely weekend, Dennis.

  15. matt

    slapping rotten flesh on dead bones.

  16. jesse

    help me dennis

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