Dead Animals, or the curious occurrence of taxidermy in contemporary art

January 23, 2016 – March 27, 2016, David Winton Bell Gallery, Rhode Island, USA

At a time when natural history museums are moving away from taxidermy, there has been a resurgence of interest in popular culture—in Internet blogs and image collections, in fashion, home décor, and advertising—as well as in art practice. The exhibition is organized around four prevalent themes that draw particular strength from taxidermy—in which the fact that the animal is real and dead imparts meaning.


From ‘crazy cat ladies’ to ‘deranged’ animal advocates occupying a ‘lunatic fringe’ (Wolfe, 5), the spectre of the ‘crazy’ label is never too far from the ‘question of the animal’. Understanding how the ‘madness’ of our instrumentalised relationships with animals intersects with the ‘madness’ of taking animals seriously, is the major task of this Symposium. Animaladies are also a potential obstacle to connections with other progressive movements, and as such, they warrant specific attention and careful analysis.