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Mark Dion's slide lecture My Taxidermy Taxonomy on Thursday afternoon, 12 May, here in the Attenborough Studio promises to present a fascinating look at the issues of the preservation of animal skins and pickled organs and the many practices of taxidermy and their cultural significance.


This public lecture is a rare opportunity to hear Mark Dion speak at the Museum.


What is it about stuffed animals? Artist Mark Dion will be talking about one of his pet obsessions at this week's talk. Installation detail:  An Account of Six Disastrous Years in the Library for Animals, At the Centrum Sztuki Wspólczesnej, Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw 1992.


We'll get to share in the stories, curiosities and oddities that Mark unearths from museum archives around the world. And the artist will discuss how taxidermy is linked to extinction and colonialism and how it defines the wider role of the museum in contemporay society.


Mark Dion (left) is an American artist whose work features aspects of archaeology, ecology and detection and collecting. He is fascinated by the principles of taxonomy - the systems by which people seek to bring order to the world. He has been inspired by 19th-century naturalists like Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.


We worked with Mark previously on the Systema Metropolis exhibition in 2007. Mark has a new exhibition in Monaco.the-collector-1000.jpg


You can see some of his previous work online at the Tanya Bonakdar gallery in New York where he has a permanent dsplay.


Our lecture this week is a preview to a closed workshop being held here the following day for the museum and collections collaborative AHRC (Arts and Humanities Reseach Council) Network Cultures of Preservation. The Afterlife of Specimens between Art and Science since the Eighteenth Century. Invited experts will gather at the Museum to consider the aesthetics and cultural significance of anatomical and zoological specimens.

Right: Mark Dion's The Collector, 2004, on show at the Tanya Bonakdar gallery in New York.
Enjoy some more of Mark Dion's catalogue. Select to enlarge


Library for the Birds of Massachusetts, 2005


Library for the Birds of Massachussets detail, 2005


Urban Wildlife Observation Unit, installation in Madison Square Park, New York. 2002


Alexander Wilson - Studio, 1999


Library for the Birds of Antwerp, 1993


Polar Bears and Toucans [from Amazonas to Svalbard], 1991