Artistic Anatomy in the American Academy, from Copley, Rimmer, and Eakins to Contemporary Artists
This exhibition tells the story of the study of artistic anatomy in America, from John Singleton Copley to Kiki Smith and others.
My name is Naomi Slipp and I write about American art and human anatomy. A lot of people ask me why I study medical illustration and artistic anatomy – I don’t really have an answer. I don’t have unfulfilled dreams of being a doctor (art history was not my back-up career) or morbid desires to animate human cadavers á la Dr. Frankenstein. Instead, I think I love anatomical illustrations and works of artistic anatomy because they visualize for us what is going on inside of our own bodies – a mysterious terrain located right inside of us. This is something that artists have tried to express for hundreds of years – that fascinating and uncharted interior that is both complex and beautiful.
Included in the exhibition are: illustrated anatomical lecture tickets; photographic stereoviews; anatomical sketches, studies, and models; pathological anatomy illustrations; and American anatomy books written for women and children. Fine art created by American artists Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908), Kiki Smith (1954- ), Thomas Eakins (1844-1916), William Rimmer (1816-1879), Hyman Bloom (1913-2009), Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), and many others, along with visual works from the "everyday" including magazines and prints, will illustrate the ways that artists studied artistic anatomy. Perhaps, most important, this exhibition examines both what that study meant for these artists and for the way we, today, think about our own bodies and how they work.
In addition to this catalogue, extensive public programming throughout the duration of the exhibition, including two guest lectures, two guided tours, a scholarly panel/round-table, and daily film screenings, will enhance the scope and visibility of the exhibition. It is my hope that this programming will have a positive impact on the community and create a dialogue between two commonly polarized fields (art and science). We will be initiating collaborative programming with Massachusetts General Hospital, the College of Fine Arts, the BU Medical College & the Center for Science & Medical Journalism at Boston University, and the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. In looking at artworks created by artists and doctors, I hope to unite this diverse audience, bringing together people who are interested in art and those who are interested in medicine for a rich, shared conversation about what it means to occupy, treat & picture our own bodies.
WHAT DO I NEED YOUR HELP WITH?:
An exhibition costs a lot of money and so does a publication. While I have a small budget, I thought big when I began planning the show in the fall of 2010. It quickly became apparent that the benefits of the exhibition – addressing a subject that is unaddressed in scholarship and exhibiting many works that had never been seen before – also meant much higher costs to prepare these artworks for their début. As the costs of borrowing works of art from lenders and institutions mounted and mounted and mounted… I felt my exhibition slip further and further away from my original vision. I made hard decisions and cut half of my budget, applied for grant funding, and got creative with installation and programming costs. Recently, one of our funding sources fell through. We now face a shortfall of approximately $2,500 or 5% of the projected expenses.
This is about the time a friend suggested Kickstarter… So here we are: I am asking you to partner with me and the Boston University Art Gallery to bring Teaching the Body: Artistic Anatomy in the American Academy, from Copley, Rimmer, and Eakins to Contemporary Artists to life. Be a part of this amazing exhibition, fund as much or as little as you can. I believe that this show and the accompanying catalogue deserve to be great but this can only be accomplished with your help. Your donations will defray costs on all ends of the exhibition: publication costs, exhibition costs, & programming costs.
Remember, if we don't make our $2,500 goal, we don't get funded at all. If we happen to raise more than our stated goal, these additional funds will help to expand the catalogue and exhibition programming, and increase our ability to borrow and promote the exhibition. If you have other ideas for rewards or ways to publicize this campaign please message me!
IN RETURN FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION:
You get that warm fuzzy feeling associated with helping a lowly graduate student, combined with a non-profit academic art gallery, mount a stellar exhibition and produce a beautiful scholarly publication. If you are looking for the swag too, there are a variety of rewards at several pledge levels. And as a special bonus, everyone, at every pledge level, will receive update emails through the progression of the exhibition, its installation, and the opening!
Thank you for your time and remember: time is limited and every pledge helps. If you like my project, please share it with others.