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10 reasons to see Bodies: The Exhibition with PREVIEW PHOTOS

OK, I’ll admit viewing a room full of dead bodies may not initially sound to everyone like a fun-filled way to spend an afternoon.

Bodies: The Exhibition opens in Tucson May 15/courtesy photo
Bodies: The Exhibition opens in Tucson May 15/courtesy photo

But once you get past any apprehension, you will be amazed by the exhibit opening this weekend for an eight-week engagement in Tucson. I promise.

Bodies: The Exhibition opens Saturday, May 15 at the Rialto Theater, 300 E. Congress – and certainly makes for a great date, solo excursion or even a family outing. Field trip anyone?

10 reasons to go see Bodies: The Exhibition

No animals were harmed in the process. No people were harmed, either. All were dead before any finagling with them began. How many cosmetic companies can say that?

You’ll be honoring the dead. The bodies are those of people in China who died from natural causes and had no one claim them after death. Chinese law says unclaimed bodies go to medical schools for education and research. Your mere presence will be an honor to them.

You’ll see silicone rubber has uses other than cake pans and tires. Silicone rubber is the exhibit’s magic ingredient used to preserve the bodies. Bodies are first treated with chemicals to stop decay, then all the bodies’ water is replaced with acetone.

Next comes the vacuum chamber filled with liquid silicone. The vacuum chamber makes the acetone in the body turn to gas and the liquid silicone hurries to fill the voids. The silicone rubber then hardens and the body is indefinitely preserved. Don’t try this at home.

Bodies: The Exhibition opens in Tucson May 15/courtesy photo
Bodies: The Exhibition opens in Tucson May 15/courtesy photo

It’s fun for the whole family. “We feel strongly that the Exhibition can offer a rare family experience: A golden opportunity to open a child’s eyes – and, in a way no textbook ever could, to teach them about the complexities of the human body and the necessity of proper nutrition, regular activity and the importance of healthy lifestyle choices…,” the Bodies: The Exhibition website notes.

You’ll quit smoking. You’ll quit drinking. You’ll quit eating like a horse. One of the Exhibition’s goals is to point out a number of health ailments that ravage folks today. These range from obesity to cirrhosis of the liver, breast cancer to arthritis. You’ll also get a peek of what happens to your organs if smoke, drink or eat too much.

Your understanding of anatomy will expand beyond “the leg bone is connected to the hip bone.”

You will be filled with awe. Trust me on this one. I saw Our Body: The Universe Within, a related exhibit, when it came to Detroit. My parents took me, proving it works as a family outing.

It’s a playground for artists. Beyond the awesome scientific aspect of it all, such a viewing will make your creativity surge. Grab your sketchbook and go. In addition to any detailed illustrations, you could also get a poem, painting or sculpture out of it.

It will open your mind. The display gives rise to plenty of pondering on topics like immortality, the human being as a machine, creation, nature, life, death, kneecap connections and other big questions like “Does my pancreas really look like that?”

You’ll have plenty of conversation topics for months to come. No more awkward silences during first dates, family gatherings or on the phone with anyone. You can instead talk up a storm describing the fascinating exhibit you had the pleasure of viewing. Just don’t discuss too many details over dinner.

Tickets and more info online at www.bodiestheexhibition.com/tucson/

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What do you think?

Is this exhibition fascinating or grotesque?

Will you be attending? Why or why not?

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Dead things make lively art – slide show

Dead things don’t always belong in a grave. They make some fantastic art.

Dead thing in a chair/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski
Dead thing made from cow bones sitting in a backyard chair/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

We’re not talking about art that simply depicts dead things, like Georgia O’Keeffe’s skull-happy paintings or a rendition of the suicidal Marat slumped lifeless in his bathtub.

We’re talking about actual parts, pieces or entire skeletons of dead things.

No home is artistically complete without at least one skull, spinal column or stuffed raccoon.

My brother once had a femur hanging from his kitchen ceiling.

Dead things work well au natural, or you can paint, decorate or draw on them to further enhance their beauty.

You can also assemble them into striking wall hangings or figures sitting stately on a discarded rusty chair you found in the Rillito riverbed.

Unless you moonlight as a mortician or have a penchant for raiding cemeteries, it’s best to use dead animals rather than people in your dead thing art collection. It’s also best to find them dead rather than killing them just to make a wall hanging.

Art made from dead people is best left to professional exhibits, like the one coming to Tucson. Sure, “Bodies…The Exhibition” is billed as a scientific display. But I saw the similar traveling show “Our Body: The Universe Within” in Detroit and it didn’t fool me.

More cow bone art/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski
More cow bone art/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

The body display is an art gallery full of dead people. One was riding a bike, another was waiting for a bus, a third was reading the newspaper. I don’t think it was the Tucson Citizen.

One dead man’s muscle tissues were cut, spread and frozen in place as if he were sporting wings and about to go flying through the science center. A bright red circulatory system hung sweetly behind glass, looking eerily similar to a jazzy disco jumper.

Of course, there are some caveats when using dead things as art. Please make sure all the fleshy parts are picked clean so you’re house doesn’t end up reeking. Also refrain from using organs, brains or other materials that are prone to rot.

And the biggest warning of all – keep dead thing art up high, far away from your dogs.

Enjoy the slide show featuring some dead thing art in and around my Tucson home (except for the worm which was photographed in Michigan).

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logoWhat do you think?

Do you have any dead thing art in your own home or office?

Will you be going to the dead people art display when it comes to Tucson next month?

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