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
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.