Photographs by Joanna Ebenstein: flickr.com/photos/astropop
MORBID ANATOMY MUSEUM
424-A 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn
After visiting Obscura, and finding myself in New York City, I had to go and visit Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum. (The best thing about curiosity and encounters is that one thing always leads to another, and you end up starting a funny and endless journey that is never boring and inevitably changes the landscape in your mind. In mine, at least.)
It was a series of fortunate events and encounters that gave birth to this three-storey space which includes a café with big wooden tables and a bookshop on the ground floor, an exhibition hall, a small museum and a library on the first floor, and a completely black presentation room with fifty chairs and audio equipment in the basement.
A choice and a work dictated by passion, captained by Joanna Ebenstein, artist, photographer, curator, blogger and graphic designer from Brooklyn who, starting from her love for anatomy, created a blog that brought her to deal with her followers’ request to actualize the virtual space making the contents of the blog available in a tangible and personal way. So, after passing by the café (where I have a cold tea, like Meryl Streep in The Bridges of Madison County but without Clint Eastwood), I go upstairs and enter the hall where I find an exhibition about the world of magic: “Do The Spirits Return? From Dark Arts to Sleight of Hand in Early 20th Century Stage Magic”, which is rather interesting, but what really makes me smile is the poster that is also included in MAGIC, the Taschen book that sometimes I leaf through for pleasure, and that I sell for business (the world turns around, there is nothing to do about it). From the exhibition hall I walk to the library/museum where you find many books displayed on the shelves, a comfortable table where you can sit and read, but most of all a series of photographs and objects that Joanna herself has gathered through the years and that make up the small and weird museum. I am taken to the basement, the presentation room. Here is where meetings take place with authors, professors and photographers coming from all around the world who happen to pass by New York. These meetings offer the opportunity to know a certain theme first hand, instead of searching it on google. To chat with the author, have a glass of wine, leaf through a book... a format that is working quite well, tells me Laetitia, my guide. It’s not only to socialize, but also to access some information, something like a school for adults, but that you freely choose to attend. “It is also a way to access culture for free, because in America you have to pay to receive an education and it is not cheap at all” clarifies Laetitia, who has long red hair and looks French.
#Culture sticks in my mind. To associate anatomy, magic, the cult of the dead around the world... with culture... should be considered a normal thing... and yet... as if culture wasn’t the normal development and consequence of curiosity for all that surrounds and fascinates us, for all that intimately belongs to us like anatomy. As if we had forgotten that we are made of flesh and blood. And that we die, the same way we are born, and we fall ill.
Are there still people that prefer to attend a physical space? To touch books made of paper? To discuss with a flesh and blood author? Instead of surfing the web all the time... All this happens in the iPAD’s homeland. (Think about it.)