The mammals at The American Museum of Natural History in New York are coming back to (near) life. A team of taxidermists, conservators and designers have been restoring the museum’s diorama by re-coloring faded fur, refreshing background paintings and installing less-damaging lighting. Aptly, the renovated display is set to open on October 27, the same day as the 154th birthday of the late President Theodore Roosevelt, after whom the teddy bear was named.
What happens when amateurs try their hand at taxidermy? They end up with undignified-looking stuffed creations with suitably deranged expressions and poses. Which means a lot of giggling action for the rest of us. Somebody should curate a traveling exhibition out of these badly stuffed animals — they are proof that life after death ain’t as cracked up as it might look.
Studio Gnu’s premiere series eschews taxidermy mounts for unflinchingly lifelike faux animal trophies of Scottish wildlife sculpted out of harris tweed, embroidery detailing and the such. The brains behind the studio is Glasgow-based Chloe Harrison, who uses traditional craft and stitching techniques to make these equally crafty creatures. Very impressive.
There is a trend towards functional taxidermy: using stuffed animals as accessories for design (and even pouring beer!) London-based designer Alex Randall creates stunning bespoke lighting, taking an array of small critters and turning them into unusual and highly collectible lighting sculptures.
Wild imagination and fearless innovation has been fueling the masters over at BrewDog to engage in what they like to call ‘extreme brewing’ for some time now. They’ve pumped out such off-the-wall creations as ultra bitter, ‘hopped to hell’ India Pale Ales, and a 32% imperial stout known as the Tactical Nuclear Penguin.
A simple way to sum up Cassandra Smith’s artwork would be to describe it as ‘bedazzled taxidermy’. Further inspection of her work reveals careful precision, amazing attention to detail, and a whole new spin and respect for the decorative arts.