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