Speculative Taxidermy

Speculative Taxidermy : Natural History, Animal Surfaces, and Art in the Anthropocene

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Description

Taxidermy, once the province of natural history and dedicated to the pursuit of lifelike realism, has recently resurfaced in the world of contemporary art,culture, and interior design. In Speculative Taxidermy, Giovanni Aloi offers a comprehensive mapping of the discourses and practices that have enabled the emergence of taxidermy in contemporary art. Drawing on the speculative turn in philosophy and recovering past alternative histories of art and materiality from a biopolitical perspective, Aloi theorizes speculative taxidermy: a powerful interface that unlocks new ethical and political opportunities in human-animal relationships and speaks to how animal representation conveys the urgency of climate change, capitalist exploitation, and mass extinction. A resolutely nonanthropocentric take on the materiality of one of the most controversial mediums in art, this approach relentlessly questions past and present ideas of human separation from the animal kingdom. It situates taxidermy as a powerful interface between humans and animals, rooted in a shared ontological and physical vulnerability.
Carefully considering a select number of key examples including the work of Nandipha Mntambo, Maria Papadimitriou, Mark Dion, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Roni Horn, Oleg Kulik, Steve Bishop, Snaebjornsdottir/Wilson, and Cole Swanson,Speculative Taxidermy contextualizes the resilient presence of animal skin in the gallery space as a productive opportunity to rethink ethical and political stances in human-animal relationships.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 35.56mm | 453.59g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 10 color illustrations
  • 0231180713
  • 9780231180719
  • 859,540

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: The Carnal Immanence of Political Realism-Realism, Materiality, and Agency
Introduction: New Taxidermy Surfaces in Contemporary Art
1. Reconfiguring Animal Skins: Fragmented Histories and Manipulated Surfaces
2. A Natural History Panopticon: Power, Representation, and Animal Objectification
3. Dioramas: Power, Realism, and Decorum
4. The End of the Daydream: Taxidermy and Photography
5. Following Materiality: From Medium to Surface-Medium Specificity and Animal Visibility in the Modern Age
6. The Allure of the Veneer: Aesthetics of Speculative Taxidermy
7. This Is Not a Horse: Biopower and Animal Skins in the Anthropocene
Coda: Toward New Mythologies-the Ritual, the Sacrifice, the Interconnectedness
Appendix: Some Notes Toward a Manifesto for Artists Working with and About Taxidermy Animals, by Mark Dion and Robert Marbury
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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Review Text

The first volume to focus on animals in a media-based subset of contemporary art, Speculative Taxidermy offers a lucid and compelling account of why animals have become serious subjects in art, and with what consequences for the history of art and biological science. There is no greater authority on the subject than Aloi. SUSn McHugh, University of New England
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Review quote

The first volume to focus on animals in a media-based subset of contemporary art, Speculative Taxidermy offers a lucid and compelling account of why animals have become serious subjects in art, and with what consequences for the history of art and biological science. There is no greater authority on the subject than Aloi. -- Susan McHugh, University of New England Speculative Taxidermy makes a fascinating contribution to the nonhuman turn and invites us to find new ways to envisage the relationships between human and nonhuman animals. It will be a significant text for ethical and political debates in animal studies and the environmental humanities. -- Hannah Stark, University of Tasmania
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About Giovanni Aloi

Giovanni Aloi is a lecturer in art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sotheby's Institute of Art New York and London, and Tate Galleries. He is the author of Art and Animals (2011) and the founder and editor-in-chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture.
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