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Walter Potter’s Curious Victorian Taxidermy

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In 1850, Walter Potter was 15 years old when he first began experimenting with taxidermy. By the age of 19, Potter had already created his best-known taxidermy tableaux, “The Death and Burial of Cock Robin” which was displayed, along with his other work, at a pub his family owned in Bramber, West Sussex. Potter’s taxidermy dioramas feature anthropomorphized animals acting out Victorian life scenes. During the Victorian era, taxidermy was a popular practice, and in 1880, a dedicated museum building was opened because the tableaux at the pub had created quite a scene. Over time, the interest in taxidermy declined, and the museum was moved before closing down.

Though Potter’s dioramas could be considered morbid, especially by modern standards, there’s something Beatrix Potteresque (no relation) about his work, mostly in its strange and whimsical Victorianism. “Kittens’ Wedding” was Potter’s last tableaux before his death in 1890; this piece was auctioned at Bonham’s (along with most of the collection) in 2003 for £21,150 (around $35,500). Among those present at the auction were artists Peter Blake, David Bailey, and Damien Hirst, who reportedly bid £1 million (almost $1.7) for Potter’s entire collection, but it was rejected by the auctioneers. This caused the owners of the collection to sue Bonham’s because they believed such an offer should have been immediately accepted in order to keep the collection in tact. In 2007, Hirst told The Guardian that “Kittens’ Wedding” was one of his favorites of Potter’s work: “All these kittens dressed up in costumes, even wearing jewellery. The kittens don’t look much like kittens, but that’s not the point.”

The Telegraph notes, “To a modern eye […]these ‘freaks of nature’ appear eerily macabre. Indeed, some Victorian viewers were outraged by the grotesquery and criticised Potter for abuse of animals, despite a museum disclaimer stating that no animals had been deliberately killed for the collection.”  But then they later explain that not all of Potter’s tableaux were sourced ethically. Before neutering was commonplace, freely roaming farm kittens would often be killed off. Potter had an agreement with a local farmer who provided the kittens; this would explain the high number of participants in his tableaux.

The accompanying images are sourced from Dr. Pat Morris and Joanna Ebenstein’s book about Potter and his work, “Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy,” released earlier this year. Ebenstein says that she’s interested in “the context that creates these things, and why certain things come to be seen as bizarre to us, when obviously they weren’t at the time.” (via telegraph)

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Du- So Hot

DU – so hot from Karl Erik Brøndbo

Am I crazy or is this video by Du an electronic equivalent of The Unforgiven? Gives me the same creepy uneasy feeling but now you can dance to it instead of bang your head.

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Mark Boellaard

Return to Atlantis-2007

Amsterdam artist Mark Boellaard has a simple approach to collage. He uses new techniques marked by overtones of Surrealism. Follow his blog for more works by him. Or, for those fellow Flickr users, follow him on Flickr!

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B/D Be Buggin Out!

B/D Featured artist and all around badd ass artist Ryan Riss came back this season to create a follow up to his popular Acid Trip Tee.  His newest design Bugged Out, truly lives up to its name with eye popping patterns that will make you want to toss on some shades and protect yourself from a bone rattling psychedelic seizure.  Check out the second colorway after the jump and grab one of these before they sell out.

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Nicolás Lamas’ construction of an artificial habitat


Nicolás Lamas’ work is created to contrast the perception that we have about what belongs to the natural order with dislocated structures that respond to the pressures and strains of contemporary culture.  As part of this process, he builds fragmentations in the organization of scientific knowledge that result in hybrids that demonstrate an ongoing clash between nature and artifice, between reality and fiction.
Nicolás is primarily interested in exposing the artifice that is implicit in any system of representation of living forms, revealing–and not concealing–the falsehood inherent to the process of construction of knowledge in modern times and its utopias. Thus, he questions the logic and rational procedures that have always been applied to classification systems, including the management of collections at museums of natural history and their predecessors, the cabinets of curiosities.

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The Bruce High Quality Foundation


Spotted this giant New York-city-as-a-pizza (aptly titled “Pizzatopia”) by The Bruce High Quality Foundation as a piece for the VOLTA show somewhere on the internet and suddenly became very hungry. There’s more pictures of it after the jump just because I feel like I am eating it vicariously through blog text ingestion.

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Ivan C.

cgMeet Ivan C. – a visual artist from Mexico. Although he works commercially, his work is conceptul, believing art should now be “Cosa Virtuale,” with technology not leading the ideas, but setting free all the visual possibilities for the interpretation of reality. Ivan releases his imagery through multiple mixed-media processes involving digital photography, digital collage and experimental graphic manipulations.

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Go Monster Project- An International Cast of Artists Bring Kids Wacky Monster Drawings To Life

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Frightening monsters, gentle monsters and funny monsters. The kids and artists working on the monster themed project  ‘Go Monster Project’ welcome any kind of creatures. This project raises awareness for children’s imagination as a mean to shape their adult personality and future.

Elementary students are asked to draw a monster, that’s the starting point of the project. No rules or conditions have been set. They are asked to let their imagination wander and to draw literally anything that comes through their minds. Once they are done, the drawings are transformed into paintings, 3D illustrations, animations; digitally or manually by mini-sculptures. The kids are able to see their creatures come to life, and most importantly they are getting the validation that their creativity, taste and talent is significant.

There’s no right or wrong. The fact that they won’t be graded or judged from their creations help the children recognize the power of their imagination. This project aims to encourage kids to grow their potential within an environment ruled by ‘like’ buttons and a permanent search for social approval.
The excitement shared is twofold. The kids are having a great time drawing and the artists are exploring their imagination by taking over the simple yet creative drawings into visually elaborated and detailed designs.

The ‘Go Monster Project’ has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help develop the project.

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