Ravishing Beasts

Nothing to do this weekend except work. Also managed to check out the Museum of Vancouver - which is totally awesome! Who knew they had all the city's old and icon neon signs?

The museum's fairly recent rebranding by Kaldor makes the whole institution so much more accessible to young people. Yes, I thought, sans serif fonts speak to my generation.

No really, quite a fabulous job done. The whole move to capture a new audience is working well. They've managed to take Kaldor's aesthetic and meld it into their current and upcoming exhibits (Art of Craft looks fun too). The current feature exhibit, Ravishing Beasts, is in fact, ravishing. It's the first showing of the museum's taxidermy collection. The scale, the staging, is like a magnificent film set... with a little bit of hipster old-library/apothecary/lab-fetish thrown in. I'm interested in buying the lion. It's for sale, they say.

The Straight wrote a lovely piece about guest curator Rachel Poliquin and the exhibit:
"Discovering the vast, forgotten collection prompted guest curator Poliquin—a Vancouverite fresh out of a post-doctoral history fellowship at M.I.T. who’s also writing a book called Taxidermy and Longing—to mount a decidedly contemporary show that would raise the kinds of questions she had about the practice. “I grew up in Vancouver and I never knew this taxidermy collection existed. And I think it’s a wonderful allegory for taxidermy itself: it was hidden away not because people hated it so much but because they were not sure about it,” she explains. “Hopefully, this show allows people to think about it. Taxidermy is no longer something just to look at but to think about.”

"Exploring the bowels of the institution, where the animals and birds were carefully lined up on shelves, all packaged in blue boxes with clear plastic coverings, Poliquin admits she felt emotional. “There were just rows and rows of these little animals. I think it’s sad to ignore these creatures once you’ve made them your responsibility,” she says. “There’s hardly any information now about them and who they came from and how they got here.”"
The exhibit will inspire questions, and maybe extreme emotions. Either way, an interesting, off-the-beaten path way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Ravishing Beasts closes Feb 28

Ravishing Beast blog by curator Rachel Poliquin

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