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Thursday, February 26, 2004

Messy Exhibitions Show How the Body Works

Everyone knows that the body is a collection of vile liquids, nauseating smells, and messy and mysterious organs. Embarrassment and shame should follow any thought of your body. But for those who are strangely unashamed and interested in the body, here are some exhibitions.

First, Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body at the Sloan Museum does a nice job of demonstrating how the body works. From their site...

"This sophisticated interactive attraction features animatronic robots, imaginative exhibits, games and challenges that explore the mysteries behind the mushy, oozy, scaly and slimy things our bodies produce to stay healthy. It's just plain gross and you are going to love it!"

But if it's the real thing that you would like to see, then the controversial Bodyworks exhibition is for you. Using real, live cadavers, Professor Gunther von Hagens uses a process of his own making to create anatomical sculptures, much like 17th-century anatomist Dr. Fredrick Ruysch. But Dr. von Hagens has had his fair share of critics and scandals. The British newspaper The Guardian has written about how Von Hagens was forced to return controversial corpses to China after accusations of the corpses being those of executed prisoners. He has also been accused of unethical dealings with various Russian medical institutions.

The Clark County Coroner's Office has added a photo-exhibition called: Las Vegas Unidentified. Alright, it's not a photo exhibition, but it's the edgy, artistic fare that some New York galleries would love to hang. However, the Los Angeles County Coroner has Clark County's site beat, with its own store selling chalk-outline beach towels.

Artist Alex Grey adds a spiritual sheen to anatomy with his "Progress of the Soul" works.

And finally, in a significantly tamer show, Barney Smith shows that a toilet seat to some is as a canvas to others.

posted by Mr. Kimberly at