Afraid to Talk about Death

Afraid To Talk About Death? This Exhibit Might Change Your Mind By NEAL CHARNOFF, VPR News It’s natural that people, for the most part, do not like to talk about death and dying. An audio exhibit in Montpelier this weekend is trying to change that. The Wake Up To Dying Project gathers stories about death, dying and life, and supplements them with art exhibits and discussion. The traveling exhibit is at Montpelier’s Christ Episcopal Church July 24-26… (Read the rest of the story on VPR News) Read Full Article
“This isn’t the first time I have rummaged through someone’s dead stuff on Royal Street before. This lady died and I respect her stuff and I’m going to turn her stuff into something else.”

I found You Who squatting over a row of trash bags on Royal Street, picking through shiny gold and purple streamers, which matched his purple tights and gold star-shaped medallion. Read Full Article
"Death is the most profound loss and I experienced that at a very young age," says Susan Silas. "It was also the backdrop, in the form of the Holocaust, of a lot of whispered information that I didn’t fully comprehend as a child."

There is something sacred about taking a walk, seeing the places others have seen, following in the footsteps of another’s journey. Your own images leave your head, new images enter. New sights, new sounds, new thoughts. Read Full Article
The Hellstrom Chronicle features a fictitious narrator named Dr. Nils Hellstrom who believes insects will ultimately win the fight for survival on planet Earth. The film won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 1971.

The Oscars are coming up and few who saw the film will likely be surprised that The Act of Killing has been nominated for Best Documentary Feature. The film depicts the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s but rather than focus on the victims follows the murderers themselves. Read Full Article
Doctors who treated people with bubonic plague wore special outfits, including masks with long bird-like beaks. Today people are selling recreations of the masks online.

One of the scariest costumes of all time seems to be staging a comeback: the plague doctor. Plague doctors tended to victims of the Bubonic Plague, the abominable disease spread by fleas on rodents that killed roughly half of Europe during the 14th century and erupted again across parts of Europe during the 17th century. Read Full Article
Scott Simon, an NPR reporter, recently live-tweeted his mother's death.  Just how private should we allow death to be, and just what will become of these deaths once they are released to the world?

What will it be like to live in a world where we all record our own deaths on tiny video cameras implanted in our foreheads? We already have Google Glasses, which put the features of a Smartphone in your eye, and a few years back a San Francisco artist envisioned replacing the eye she lost in a car accident with a video-recording bionic eye. I imagine a day when some combination of these two devices becomes common, even mandatory. Read Full Article
Skulls Unlimited International cleans the skulls and skeletons of anything from people's pets to humpback whales to humans.

Not only is there a company called Skulls Unlimited International, they even have their own museum! Read Full Article
The Museum of Death, in Los Angeles, features Suicide Hall, the California Death Room and an exhibit on executions.

JD Healy and Cathee Shultz once built their own guillotine. The couple now runs the Museum of Death, in Los Angeles. Read Full Article
Napoleon’s death mask sits under glass at the Louisiana State Museum, in New Orleans. Institutions in London, Paris and North Carolina also claim to have the copies of the death mask.

The French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is buried in a crypt in Paris but if you want to see his “death mask” you need only go as far as New Orleans. Read Full Article
The Brazilian artist Alexandre Orion made a mural of skulls out of soot in a São Paulo tunnel. Skull art dates back hundreds of years.

If you were to drive through the tunnel in the Brazilian megacity of São Paulo that connects Avenida Cidade Jardim to Avenida Europa in 2006 you would have encountered a shocking site: tunnel walls completely covered with human skulls. Read Full Article
Weegee photographed more than 5,000 murders for New York tabloids during the 1930s and 1940s. His work is now being shown in top galleries.

There is the man sprawled on the sidewalk outside a café in a pool of blood with a gun and a top hat beside him. There is the body of William Hessler, “trussed in a self-strangulation knot and stabbed 48 times with an ice pick…found stuffed into a small trunk and dumped in a lot.” Read Full Article
In Eric Coble’s new play, Velocity of Autumn, an aging mother rebels against her children’s decision to place her in a nursing home.

Eric Coble has written and produced plays on Edgar Allen Poe, Pinocchio and Pecos Bill; his latest, Velocity of Autumn, is about an elderly Brooklyn woman who boobytraps her apartment with firebombs to prevent her children from sending her to a nursing home. Read Full Article
NYC’s BODIES exhibit recently reopened after a makeover that added an audio tour and new specimens. Claims that the exhibit’s bodies came from tortured Chinese prisoners were never unequivocally squashed. (Photo by Justin Nobel)

In the middle of downtown New York City, just blocks from Wall Street and right beside a row of sunny cafes where tourists sit along the sidewalk eating lunch is a meandering room filled with body parts. Read Full Article
Jorge Guadalupe Posada’s skeleton drawings were inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration and often had a political message. His work exemplifies a focus on death in Mexican art, carried on by modern artists like Dr. Lakra, whose work is currently showing at The Drawing Center, in New York City.

There is a large face without skin, just bare muscles and eyes wide open and staring. In a cavern-like lair are a group of naked cat-like women crawling seductively towards the viewer. A man who resembles an Aztec emperor has a thick beard and strange tattoos. Read Full Article
sally mann

Seven slender bones, chipped and splotched, some even burnt, lined up neatly on a table. A young boy with eyes wide open, they are bright and sparkling, he is dead and decomposing. A young woman with freckled cheeks, plump lips and a button nose; also dead. Read Full Article
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