The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Tim Hawkinson Penitent (1994)
Penitent is a sculpture of a small human skeleton made out of rawhide dog chews. The figure’s ribcage contains a motorized device, which blows a slide-whistle, giving the impression it is calling for a dog. Kneeling on the floor in a position of supplication, the skeleton seems to be beckoning for its own demise in the form of a dog, which will tear it apart.’


Ron Mueck Mass (2017)
‘Australian artist Ron Mueck has unveiled his largest installation ever with Mass, a collection of 100 monumental hand-cast skulls. The imposing and ominous skulls pour through the galleries, each skull artfully placed into a tumbling mass like a glacier inching across a landscape.’


X-Ray Audio Bone Music (2016)
‘Bone Music, an exhibition currently on show at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, examines the phenomenon of Soviet music bootlegging, a period in which music lovers used x-ray films to record and distribute music, unavailable in the country at the time.’


Urs Fischer Undigested Sunset (2001-2002)
Cast aluminum, wax, wood, acrylic paint, pigments, fabric, silicone, wood glue, screws


Caspar Berger Various (2012-2013)
Dutch artist Caspar Berger is using his own skeleton to create a new series of sculptures.

Skeleton (2012)

Sanctity (2013)

ATTRACTION / SELF-PORTRAIT 30 (2014) Watch an excerpt here


Subodh Gupta Very Hungry God (2006)
‘Sometimes dubbed India’s Damien Hirst, Subodh Gupta is one of India’s leading contemporary artists, who creates mainly large-scale sculptures and installations (from stainless steel Indian kitchenware and other found objects) that address the country’s changing social landscape. Arranging traditional utensils, pots, and pans according to a Minimalist aesthetic, Gupta approaches readymade items with Duchampian irony, while also offering social commentary.’


Casey Weldon Kids Will be Skeletons (2010)


Francois Robert Stop the Violence (2010)
‘Francois Robert spent hundreds of hours arranging the real bones of a single human skeleton into a series of striking iconic shapes, each five or six feet wide.’


Tavares Strachan What Will Be Remembered in the Face of All that Is Forgotten (2014)
‘Made between 2014-2015, the five-foot-tall piece includes pulsating neon that mimics the racing of blood through veins, stainless steel to hold the skeleton in place, and a total of seven transformers. The flashing circulatory system is a glowing reminder of English scientist Rosalind Franklin’s contributions to the field of science, mainly the discovery of DNA’s molecular structures.’


Joseph Wesley Moon Watson The Candle 2 (2015)


Alain Séchas Les Papas (1995)
Plastic skeletons, canvases, easels, stools, palettes, brushes, acrylic paint.


Matthew Day Jackson Terminal Velocity (2008)
‘Jackson created a 3D scan of his own skeleton in fibreglass and dropped it from a great height onto an aluminium car hood.’


Shanell Papp Lab (2019)
‘Canadian artist Shanell Papp crochets forms associated with the human figure, notably crocheting a life-size skeleton stuffed with colorful removable organs. The work was created in 2005 from wool yarn, and includes everything from a soft crocheted heart to ten hollow phalanges. After working for four months on the skeleton, and four months on the organs, the final work was displayed on an actual mortuary gurney.’


Paul Hazelton Death Duster (2011)
a cobweb skull made from a duster and glued household dust


Carolein Smit Various (2015)
‘Carolein Smit is an internationally renowned ceramic artist who currently lives in Belgium.’


Ron English Andy Warhol Figment Bust (2010)
‘We got a few of the remaining DCon exclusive Ron English Andy Warhol “FIGMENT” busts. Each measures a whopping 13″ tall, 10″ deep, and 9″ across. Yours for just 220 €.’


Maradita Sutantio (After) The Promised Land (2019)
Using the principles of Ikebana, Maradita Sutantio has arranged skeletons in a mandala-like shape in After the Promised Land. Ikebana — the Japanese art of flower arrangement — is seen by its practitioners as a way to connect the soul with nature.’


David Cerny Tuned Death (2011)
‘A metallic red skull hanging at the end of a horizontal metal crane rotates atop the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art.’


Jason Limon Various (2014-2019)
‘Jason Limon was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1973. He first showed his artistic expression at a fairly young age doodling characters and scenarios inspired by his bustling neighborhood and surroundings. He studied fine arts and graphic design at the Visual Arts & Technology Center at San Antonio College and entered the field of commercial graphic design in 1995 acquiring comprehensive knowledge of type, color and composition. Following twelve years of commitment to producing award winning logos and designs he then turned his focus and concentration to where his heart truly began: developing artwork by hand and brush, no longer by the clicks of a mouse.’


Jan Van Oost Salome (1990)
‘We are talking about the 19th century “Salomé”, the Salomé Oscar Wilde has described so beautiful. A lot of my works are dealing with that well-known fin-de-siècle symptom, the Baudelairean aim of searching for the perfect Beauty and the knowledge of the impossibility to succeed. This creates often a special sentiment, called melancholy. Salomé does not succeed in her queeste (search) to seduce J. the Baptist. La femme fatale, “Salomé”, is a work in massive silver. Silver as a decadent ersatz mirror; surface and symbol; in the interpretation of Pausanias of Narcissus story. Narcissus had a twin sister who died very young. Each time, by looking in the water, he sees the face of his dead sister, finding comfort in melancholy.’


Jenny Holzer Lustmord Table (1994)
‘In 1993, at the invitation of the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, the Sunday magazine of one of Germany’s largest daily newspapers, Jenny Holzer created a series titled Lustmord, prompted by the war in former Yugoslavia where sexual violence against women and girls was used as a strategy and weapon. Taking its title from a German word for “sexually motivated murder,” Lustmord treats sexual violence in its ubiquitous manifestations. It represents these acts from the perspectives of perpetrators, victims, and observers.’


Gino de Dominicis Various (1969-2007)

Time, Error, Space (1969)

Calamita Cosmica (2007)


Sherrie Levine Crystal Skull (2010)


TYPOE Confetti Death (2010)


Taiji Taomote Death Eviscerations (2017)
‘Working primarily in plaster, Japanese artist Taiji Taomote produces surreal sculptures inspired by skeletal motifs. Death Viscerations, one of his most unique works of skull art, exhibits both the artist’s wild imagination and his awe-inspiring realist approach.’


Agelio Batle Ash Dancer (2016)
‘On a specially-designed, high-frequency vibrating table planted in the middle of San Francisco’s jack fischer gallery lies a life-sized human skeleton made of solid graphite. Artist Agelio Batle has carefully crafted ‘Ash Dancer’ to rest on a precisely-constructed paper countertop. As this violently-shaking surface rattles, the skeletal artwork leaves behind abstract, illustrated impressions of itself. As a result of the unrelenting vibration, the graphite bones slowly disintegrate in the process and will eventually disappear completely.’


Monika Horčicová Various (2015-2016)
‘Czech artist Monika Horčicová creates complex sculptures using 3D printing technology and polyester resin. The conceptual skeletal structures seem amazingly real, as if these mechanisms would actually have a functional purpose.’




Morris Costumes Undead Cathy & Fred (2014)




p.s. Hey. ** Milk, Hi, M. Thank you on Mieze’s behalf. Hope all is as awesome with you as can be. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. The film of ‘Wide Saragasso Sea’ is pretty meh. I’m being careful, don’t worry. I am very happy to be somewhere where stupid baby people know enough shut up and stay home. Very nice song you shared there. Thank you! ** Golnoosh, Hi, Golnoosh. Yes, Mieze made a very beautiful post. The blog is very lucky. Oh, sure, just let me know when or if you would like me to be on your show. That’s very nice of you. Happy Wednesday. ** Bill, Hey. Today’s my bookstore day. And my first metro trip day. And, consequently, my first outing wearing a mask. A landmark day in theory. Rhys is so great. If you start, I say start with ‘Good Morning, Midnight’ or ‘Leaving Mr. McKenzie’. ‘Little Eyes’ … the name is familiar, but I don’t think I know more than its name. I’ll investigate. I also didn’t know of that die Angel thing. Again, I’ll be on it pronto. Thank you kindly, Bill. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, B. I’m in the camp that thinks ‘Wide Saragasso Sea’ is her least interesting novel. Not that it’s at all bad, mind you. But there’s a reason why it’s the popular one. That, i.e. your lockdown effect, is indeed a very good thing! ** Jeff J, Hi. The Quick comp is a hodgepodge by virtue of it being scraps and often simply recorded as demos, but maybe their greatness shines through. Yes, the second Twilley Band album ‘Twilley Don’t Mind’ and, possibly even more so, ‘The Great Lost Twilley Album’, which is, as the title suggests, an album that was never released at the time and recorded around the period of ‘Sincerely’ are great records too. If you fall in love, his first solo album after Phil Seymour left, ‘Twilley’, has some excellent tracks on it. Yeah, I’m hunting/thinking about the Little Caesar Press post. It might well be possible, although it’ll have to be fairly minimal. Kind of a checklist. Agree, ‘Image Book’ is fantastic and one of Godard’s best in my book. Should you ever get the chance to see it as intended with the complex sound design/surround speakers, you really get its amazingness fully. You’ve seen ‘Goodbye to Language’ in 3D, right? I forget. That’s an absolutely monster of greatness. My favorite all time Godard. I’ll watch my mail. ** Misanthrope, It was a glorious corpse just waiting to be revived into its former/new glory. Older people with pre-you experience do have their great value when they’re not just being old and nostalgic and sour. May both of our outdoors be as sweet as pie. I’m an optimistic guy too, but I suspect you guys, or a lot of you, in the US are in for a long, rough time. Hope I’m wrong. ** Right. Today you get skeletons. See you tomorrow.


  1. David Ehrenstein

    Lovely stuff today. What fascinated me about skeletons is the way their used culturally as memento mori AND substitutes for actual humans. “Goodbye to Language” is very good but my fave Godard is still “Made in USA” with “Film Socialisme” a close second. At one point in the middle of the 1960’s he was as important to me as Patrice Chereau is today. That’s faded. My one meeting with himwas very disillusioning whereas by one meeting with Chereau was surpassingly wonderful. I do however wonder what he’s working on in “Lockdown” albeit he’s been in virtual “Lockdown” for at least 20 years.

  2. _Black_Acrylic

    Skeletons always bring to mind these TV ads for Scotch video tape that were a constant throughout my 80s childhood viewing.

    Today I took delivery of my friend Katie’s new zine dedicated to the COVID lockdown. It contains work by some 45 creative types including 2 texts by myself. Seems this crisis has brought forth a surge in creativity from some folk out there.

  3. Mark Gluth

    Hey Dennis, hope all is well. I just emailed you the blog day I put together for CDTU. Let me know if you have questions.

    What you said above about the US and a long hall is correct. Ugh

  4. Jeff J

    Hey Dennis – Nice array of skulls. The scale of “Mass” was really startling once I realized it. Dug the Urs Fischer, candle, and Jenny Holzer pieces in particular, but the whole thing was enjoyable.

    Been listening to that Quick comp today and enjoying it. Appreciate the Twilley recs which I’ll seek out shortly.

    I did get to see Goodbye to Language in 3D, which was remarkable. Hope someday to see Image Book w/ intended sound design. Film society here wanted to do that, but the requirements were too complex and expensive, alas.

    Did you watch the recent live interview Godard did? (I haven’t seen it yet).

  5. Steve Erickson

    Here’s “Taking Stock (remix.)” The drums are louder and the whole song was put through a filter that boosted the bass and amplified the samples while making the synth patches sound a bit faded.

    When we return to normal, I am seriously interested in trying to pursue writing a soundtrack for a horror movie, although I don’t really know how to get my work out there for potential clients beyond that SoundCloud page (where I get approached by scammers on a daily basis.)

    I’ve watched the first half of Adam Curtis’ THE MAYFAIR SET, and while one can see his interests and politics in place, it looks like a typical BBC documentary, without the editing juxtapositions or use of pop music in his later work. A friend said that he didn’t really become “Adam Curtis” till THE CENTURY OF THE SELF, made a few years later.

    @Corey–Thanks for the praise. I clicked on your SoundCloud page expecting field recordings from Tel Aviv or some kind of music. What inspired the computer-voiced poem?

  6. MANCY

    I like skeletons. I was just thinking I would be such a sucker for any video game where all the characters are skeletons. I’m not much of a gamer but I borrowed a Wii from Mr. Gluth and I have been playing Epic Mickey. I love it.
    I went thru the Power Pop post the other day. Reminded me how much I LOVE the Shoes. And the Last. Think I’m a new fan of Let’s Active and a couple others.
    Things good here, returning to work toward the end of the month barring catastrophic developments. I dunno, I don’t see much concern for safety among most folks around here. I’m still wary.
    Very excited Mark’s book entered the world today.

  7. Bill

    Hey Dennis, obviously I love a number of the pieces today. Back when we could actually travel, I always made a point of visiting local ossuaries when I go out of town.

    How did the bookstore outing go? By the way, I don’t think you’ll enjoy “Little Eyes” after all. The first part is great, but Schweblin kind of changed her approach halfway, and the later chapters are kind of cluttered and lack distance.

    By the way, have you seen A.W., the “portrait” of Apichatpong Weerasethakul? Wondering what you think. It’s made by Connor Jessup, known for some uber twink movie roles, who is a big fan and has made some interesting looking shorts.


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