Monday, October 24th: ‘Freaks and Pornography: Victorian Popular Anatomy Museums, Sex and the Unusual Body’

Freaks and Pornography: Victorian Popular Anatomy Museums, Sex and the Unusual Body
Observatory (543 Union St., Brooklyn)
8pm
$5

Victorian popular anatomy museums were visual spaces in which provocative depictions of women, human ‘freaks’, and ‘exotic peoples’ were displayed together in an ostensibly scientific context. Simultaneously, photographers and artists were doing a brisk trade in depictions of nude images of ‘freaks’ and women, also framed as ’scientific,’ but which, as reproduction techniques advanced, were sometimes sold to third parties as ‘artistic models’ or pornography. Popular anatomy museums were hugely popular attractions in many cities in the United States and Europe until the mid- to late-nineteenth century, when public opinion turned against them and, ultimately they were charged with obscenity alongside pornographers, and many of their collections were completely destroyed.

Tonight, join PhD candidate and author Sarah Kathryn York for a highly illustrated lecture detailing this fascinating history.