From the Morgue to the Museum: Contemporary Artists and the Post-mortem

Death:OK (Let’s Talk About It) is a day of inspiration, information, and connection taking place October 17, 2015 on the campus of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. As part of an ongoing series profiling our presenters, we’re pleased to introduce you to…

Angela Hennessy, presenting “From the Morgue to the Museum: Contemporary Artists and the Post-mortem.”

hennessy_death ok_araya video

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, The Class, video still, 2005

This presentation considers the role of art in addressing personal grief, public mourning, and cultural narratives of loss. From the mourning body to the post-mortem body—the impulse to archive the lives of the dead has produced a rich history of creative practices in sacred, public, and domestic realms. But for many of us, the post-mortem body is not a body that we know, and mourning traditions have long ago been lost or forgotten. In this absence, contemporary artists are mourning through their work, and the museum has emerged as a space where mortality is up for contemplation.

Angela Hennessy is an Oakland-based artist and death care activist. She is an Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts. She teaches courses on cultural narratives of mortality, textile theory, and strategies of feminist art. Her research on death and textiles in the work of Teresa Margolles was published in Surface Design Journal and was the subject of her presentation at the Textile Society of America conference in 2014. Angela is also a grief recovery specialist and hospice volunteer. She has hosted Death Cafes and is currently working with other death educators to form the Bay Area Death Care Alliance.

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2 Responses to From the Morgue to the Museum: Contemporary Artists and the Post-mortem

  1. Pingback: Death:OK Presenters Announced! - Death:OK. Let's talk about it. October 17, 2015.

  2. Pingback: Dying For a Change? Friday Bonus Panel! - Death:OK. Let's talk about it. October 17, 2015.

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