Day 332: Body Works

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November 27, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

It’s amazing to think about how far we’ve come in a relatively short time.  A scant few hundred years ago, we were pretty sure we were at the center of the universe.  So much was a mystery to us, even if we didn’t know it.  A big part of me likes to think that we’re still living in a mysterious universe, but that we’ve begun at least to crack our eyes open to catch a glimpse of how little we know.  But in the past we’ve held ourselves back.  Fear of the unknown kept us in the dark for centuries as cultural, social and religious dogmas quashed curiosity in the name of preserving order and authority.  Screw that.  This goes out to the rebels – the scientists – who defied in the name of discovery.  Today’s project is about a practice once considered taboo: examining the human form.  We’re pretty amazing animals, you and I, and once we started to really take a look at ourselves, we began to realize just how much there was to know.  It was a good first step.  Teaching the Body is Naomi Slipp’s exhibition of historical anatomy illustration, honoring our exploration of our own selves as subjects of study.  Fascinating, intricate and beautiful.  Back it before December 1.

 This exhibition tells the story of the study of artistic anatomy in America from the first anatomy text of John Singleton Copley, created in 1756, to the contemporary works of Kiki Smith and others. Over eighty works in the exhibition [many never exhibited before], including drawings, prints, sculptures, paintings, and texts, illustrate the relationship between American art and medicine, a collaboration founded because of their shared interest in the human body and the study of anatomy.


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