When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.
Taxidermy has gone through many interations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.
Later still, Norman Bates shifted the cultural understanding of taxidermy from art to something more macabre after he taxidermied his mother in Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho."
Today, animal-loving Millennial women are taking taxidermy to new levels of artistry and craftsmanship, from rogue taxidermists who mix and match animal parts to the mallard wing bridal veil of a couture taxidermist.
In the end, isn't taxidermy about immortality and how we choose to remember?
- Kristen Arnett is a librarian and a queer fiction and essay writer. She’s the author of the novel, NYT bestseller Mostly Dead Things, and a short fiction collection, Felt in the Jaw.(@Kristen_Arnett)
- Beth Beverly is a couture taxidermist and the owner of Diamond Tooth Taxidermy. Her work has been featured in The New York Times and most recently the Netflix series "Stranger Things" (@bethbeverly)
- John Whitenight is an educator, author, and artist. He’s the author of Under Glass: A Victorian Obsession
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.