Thursday, February 12, 2009

Animal Logic

Remember my odd curiosity with taxidermy animals in museums? I know...it's totally weird, but for some reason it intrigues me. Please tell me I'm not alone and morbid, and that you may be a little curious too?

Now we can thank Richard Barns for feeding our inquisitive minds. In the Animal Logic series Barns provides a behind the scenes look into the animal displays at a museum. What fascinates me about these animals is how close you can see them, which would normally be impossible or deadly. Even though I'm curious about taxidermy and museums I hope these animals aren't purposely killed for display. Anyone know the laws of taxidermy?!

It would be interesting to work in a museum and help create wonderful displays, but for now we can pretend with these interesting photographs.

{found via Hey, Hot Shot!}

36 comments:

Rachel said...

I find taxidermy oddly interesting as well. Plus, it's a good way for people to get close exposure to animals they wouldn't normally see, without having to keep a poor wild animal on display. I think taxidermy might actually be less depressing than zoos, for me.

please sir said...

Rachel - I haven't thought of it that way - yes, does seem that way for me too.

Sal said...

I work at the U of Minnesota and our natural history museum has taxidermy-filled dioramas that were created in the 1920s. They're mesmerizing.

Julia said...

I think just the images are curious enough to spark even the non-taxidermy lovers :)

Jane Flanagan said...

The Natural History Museum in my hometown (Dublin) is a crazy homage to the Victorian obsession with collecting and cataloging and stuffing these animals. There is something morbid about it, but something fascinating too.

At the time, it was the only place where people could see fabled animals like the duck-billed platypus. And it's also interesting to see how distorted the anatomy was on some of the animals since the taxidermist mostly didn't know how they moved in the wild.

I love going there, but mostly as an historical curiosity. Not necessarily something I would endorse creating / doing today... (especially - as you said - if the animal is killed for the purpose)

Wow - long comment. Fascinating topic!

pigeon.toed said...

that looks exactly like the natural history museum!

thanks for stopping by!

That Girl Designs said...

Interesting subject. I agree that being apart of the set-up and design of these displays would be fun. Think of the details involved!

Paul Pincus said...

Nina Hale just purchased that Richard Barnes photograph (#4) for her conference room!

Barnes is such a genius!

Lemongrass Studio said...

My long lost relatives in South Dakota HAD a taxidermy museum filled with oddities like two headed baby calves and sheep. Totally freaked my jeebs. I agree with Rachel that now as an adult, the taxidermy craziness is less depressing than zoos and circuses and our local zoo has more stuffed than real, go figure...

stephanie said...

There must be some sort of human need for created worlds - we are surrounded with them from gradeschool dioramas all the way up to idealized vacationlands like Disney and Atlantis and Las Vegas. Maybe it's an innate affinity for control ...

These are fascinating.

Savvy Mode SG said...

i would be curious to see.

Nihal said...

Great message given in your post, Di: "I hope these animals aren't purposely killed for display." Big big applauses on your way from Istanbul!
To work in a museum? To me, it would be end of my passion about the life. Thanks, I'd not think to work in a work -at least for now. Maybe when I become a retired one...
Varied topics to ponder on, dear Di.
You rock on:)

Alyssa said...

IT is a very intriguing world - taxidermy. Some of it totally weirds me out, while others are simply beautiful and thoughtful. What a great post!

annechovie said...

I don't think you are weird at all....this is kind of fascinating, esp. the scenes created with the animals. I am especially mesmerized by the specimens at Deyrolle in Paris and I want to visit sometime. Happy V Day!

Pigtown-Design said...

Do you read House of Beauty & Culture? He specializes in Victorian taxidermy at his Portobello Road shop in London. He's quite funny and engaging. I had the chance to spend a day with him this fall and took loads of pictures. You can find them here and here.

.kate said...

I love all the weird curiosities that stuffed animals bring as well. Much enjoyed this post.

Fortunately I am in the area of museums and set design and my best friend has quite a collection....

:)

Design Lovely said...

You have a good point about being able to get really close to an animal this way. It still gives me the willies. My fiance's mother does a lot of hunting and in the guest room that we slept in it had all these dead animals and it freaked me out. Everyone is different though and I can appreciate your fascination. :)

Sam said...

These photos are interesting in themselves - looking at the set up in construction. I've always found taxidermy to be fascinating but a bit unsettling at the same time! Great post!

Newburgh Restoration said...

Those animals always kinda scared me...like I wouldn't want to be alone with them with the lights turned out. LOL...but I really can appreciate the level of complexity that goes into designing these displays

drollgirl said...

THIS IS RADICAL!!! i am wanting to go to the natural history museum, STAT.

please sir said...

I enjoy them, but I agree - not sure if I could have them in my house!

Hey Harriet said...

Taxidermy I find both intriguing & a little freaky at the same time :)

erin@designcrisis said...

I'm there with you! Great pictures!

Annabelle said...

They are good photos, for some reason they look like they were taken by Annie Lebowitz?? Very cool - I think museum animals are intriguing too!

Grace@PoeticHome said...

Wow -- these are incredible and quite surreal! I personally find taxidermy a bit spooky, but quite intriguing.

Rachel said...

Lovely pictures! I don't think taxidermy is weird at all. Has anyone every tried it? Apparently it's quite easy. A mate of mine stuffed a dead bird she found once.

Haley said...

THEY TOTALLY ARE NOT! They are not killed for this purpose, I have a friend that works at the Field Museum here in Chicago and I asked that same question a while back! I have a taxidermist friend as well and though I don't personally find it as neat as you do ( maybe because I have seen it all laded out before) it is def. interesting!!!!

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I need to keep up with it better I just don't like when fun things start to feel like an obligation... do you struggle with that??

-Haley

Brittany Noel said...

Thanks for affirming Haley, I didn't think they would be killed for this purpose. Probably in the Victorian time, but definitely not now.

I've always been interesting in taxidermied animals, especially birds. But not in houses. Then it makes me feel uncomfortable. I almost feel like the animal's soul is trapped when they're in a house. But, at a museum, I feel ok and then I just want to stare at them and study them and see how the fur and feathers are laid out. I spent my whole 2-hour field trip to the Field museum with my friend in the animal section.

Joyce said...

Now this is window dressing! The displays are nice. xoxo

Krissy said...

ha, I don't think it's morbid. It's a whole other art form... I would love to see this in person.

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Seems morbid to me :) but you're not alone. Do you read Hollister Hovey? - she and her sister Porter love it too.

Two Tall Girls said...

One of my children recently visited the Academy of Science in San Fransisco and says that you can actually watch as taxidermists do their thing. Wow.

When I was a child, about once a month a metal case with a glass window was brought to our classroom. Inside each one was a small taxidermy animal that we would then be given a lesson about. I have to say that I always looked forward to it but it was strange and intriguing, beautiful and amazing all at the same time.

~alison said...

Wow. These are fantastic.

flax and spindle said...

that is amazing!! fab pictures...

hmstrjam said...

oh i love the photos- was sad when that taxidermy place in Paris burned down :( I have a friend who's obsessed with taxidermy, she has old victorian cases full of exotic birds and animals, pretty cool....

Evie said...

Best taxidermy ever is at the Horniman Museum in Forrest Hill, London. They have a walrus, but apparently they'd never seen a walrus before, so didn't know how much to stuff it. So they just stopped when they couldn't get any more in. Result? The biggest, roundest walrus known to the civilized world. With flippers that stick out at right angles. Amazing.

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