Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for March, 2011

No website migration after all.

by Suzanne on March 23rd, 2011

Since I cannot leave my current hosting contract until January 2012 and because I can't afford to pay for the upgraded server, I had to come to an agreement to put my host's banner at the bottom of this page.

Please note that this doesn't change my no-ads-on-Wurzeltod®-ever policy. In this particular case, I simply have no choice.

Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Over and out.

DIRT at the Wellcome Collection, London

by Suzanne on March 21st, 2011

A young Venetian woman, aged 23, depicted before and after contracting cholera, coloured stipple engraving, c.1831, courtesy Wellcome Library, London - click to enlarge

I will freely admit here that I go to every Wellcome Collection show - no matter how sensationalist the title.

I know that a lot of my London readers have been to High Society - some intoxicated, some not - and I think it's fair to say we all learned that at least one great writer we admire was actually a massive crackhead.

So gather around for yet another learning experience because the Wellcome once again brings us something we are all experts in: DIRT. DIRT - The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life is opening this Thursday evening and will remain on show until the end of August.

From the press release:

"Bringing together around 200 artefacts spanning visual art, documentary photography, cultural ephemera, scientific artefacts, film and literature, the exhibition uncovers a rich history of disgust and delight in the grimy truths and dirty secrets of our past, and points to the uncertain future of filth, which poses a significant risk to our health but is also vital to our existence."

(To be perfectly honest with you, I think the unfortunate cholera-stricken lady above looks a lot better, i.e. gother, on the right but yeah, I do realise that life in the early 19th century was no Vivienne Westwood catwalk.)

On show: Mar 24 - Aug 31, 2011

Address: Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK | Map & Directions

Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10 AM - 6 PM, Thu: 10 AM - 10 PM, Sun: 11 AM - 6 PM

Admission: FREE

Exhibition website | Events | Image galleries | Films

Pre-order "Dirt" by Profile Books

Bye Bye Kitty!!! at Japan Society, New York

by Suzanne on March 21st, 2011

ERECTRO(clara) by Motohiko Odani, 2004, photo by Kioku Keizo - click to enlarge

Bye Bye Kitty!!! - Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art - a fantastically curated show that has gained prominent relevance due to recent sad events in Japan is currently on show at New York's Japan Society.

It's an incredible tour de force featuring some in the Western art world often marginalised and underrepresented Japanese artists, my favourites being: Makoto Aida, Manabu Ikeda, Rinko Kawauchi, Motohiko Odani (above), Chiharu Shiota (previously featured here) and Miwa Yanagi (below).

From the Fairytale series by Miwa Yanagi, silver gelatin print, 2004 - click to enlarge

There's a lot to see and learn at this show so please don't miss it if you're in NYC. The Japan Society also offers you countless ways to donate to Japan's struggle with the earthquake and tsunami aftermath.

Details are below and please don't miss this interview with the amazing Makoto Aida (via Substrom):

On show: Mar 18 - Jun 12, 2011

Address: Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017, tel: 212.832.1155 | Map & Directions

Opening hours: Tue - Thu: 11 AM - 6 PM, Fri : 11 AM - 9 PM, Sat & Sun: 11 AM - 5 PM

Exhibition website | Events

Sad stuff, boring stuff, embarrassing stuff, demented stuff, good stuff.

by Suzanne on March 18th, 2011


Please pardon the lack of updates here. It has a lot to do with me being glued to the BBC's Asia-Pacific Live blog at the strangest times of night and I got so little sleep I feel like I should do a sequel to Being John Malkovich entitled Being Yukio Edano. I won't go on about it here but I will keep posting useful links from the IAEA, IRSN, WHO, MIT, New Scientist et al. to my Facebook if you're interested, in an attempt to let information win over fear.

Most of my Japanese friends are fortunate to not live in the north-east that was hit hardest a week ago but in Tokyo and further south and are okay, Trevor Brown reported that he is "as well as can be expected. we still have food and i’m not glowing in the dark". Maru the Cat is fine too. Blogging from the future as a matter of fact - last sign of existence logged on March 20. Tokyo Scum Brigade are okay too and planning future projects. Also, the Same Hat! Tumblr has a message from the great, the invincible Kazuo Umezu.

It's good to see that despite the unbelievable hardship and the upsettingly fear-mongering Western journalism, the Japanese have kept their altruism, solidarity, logical calm... and very particular sense of humour:

As aftershocks continue, the situation at Fukushima isn't under control yet and with hundreds of thousands of displaced people living in harsh conditions, supplies and fuel running out and with the sheer scale of what's yet to come unimaginable, please consider donating to the Red Cross if you haven't done so already:

Japanese Red Cross

Japan Earthquake Relief Fund

If you are still looking for relatives, Google has launched both a YouTube channel and a person finder database.

There's been a lot of talk about "praying" for Japan. If you, like me, are not the praying type, let's HOPE for Japan to rise again and HELP where and how we can.

And please let us not forget about places currently out of the spotlight where very very tense situations prevail and that desperately need our attention too like Libya, Ivory Coast and a thousand other places on earth that fall through the media's radar.


Due to this website and the forum becoming more and more popular, I have to migrate all my content to a new hosting provider. This will probably happen sometime early this coming week and will lead to some down times. I will post a short announcement beforehand but just so you already know.


Yes, I still owe lots and lots and lots of you emails. Due to long sickness and a multitude of projects, my inbox is still rather chaotic but trust me, everyone will get a reply as soon as possible.


Rob has released the first issue of his "MISANTHROPIA! (The Greatest Country in the World)" zine that he's written and illustrated himself. It's hand copied and stapled the hell out of it by yours truly. If you're interested in supporting nonsensical small press, pricing incl. shipping is as follows: UK £1.50, EU £2, USA £2.50, RoW: £3 - paypalable to secretplotx(AT)gmail.com and we'll send it out straight away.


Later this weekend, I will have more news for you about the Musée Bizarre situation but right now it's still top-secret. Exciting times.

Important Musée Bizarre Liquidation Update

by Suzanne on March 13th, 2011

Installation view of the Musée Bizarre © Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

As I reported at the end of last year, the Musée Bizarre in Baden, Switzerland has closed its doors and all the exhibits, displays, dioramae, taxidermy, medical equipment etc. etc. will be sold off in a liquidation auction starting this coming Saturday, March 19, 2011, 4 PM - with subsequent auctions taking place on March 26, March 30 and April 2.

The thought of a unique art collection of epic Walter Potter proportions being split up amongst strangers who might only know little about how to preserve taxidermy and the collection never to be tracked or shown in its entirety again has been breaking Hieronymouse's and my heart for months now and I've been trying to find solutions as to how to save the museum from this dreadful fate. A potential collaboration with the Swiss Frog Museum seems sadly impossible at this time.

Installation view of the Musée Bizarre © Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

Thankfully, however, great minds in Switzerland have been starting to get active at the same time and it is with great joy and hope that I can announce that my friend Christian D. Link - a great magician and collector of all things fortean, haunted and embalmed - has joined forces with a group of committed enthusiasts and is looking for like-minded individuals to join the struggle to save the Musée Bizarre.

Sadly, we don't have the luxury of time anymore as it's less than a week until the auction but with the Swiss media being pretty unaware and uncaring about it all and with attention so low, there's a good chance that at the very least the core part and hopefully the outstanding Mice Museum (last picture below) can be preserved and once again turned into a public collection with your help.

Installation view of the Musée Bizarre © Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

If you're interested in helping out, please use the comments section below, email me or get directly in touch with Christian at info(AT)zauberlink(DOT)ch and we'll let you know how you can help.

On a more person level, I'm currently trying to make a memorial picture archive of the museum, so if you have ever been to the museum and taken pictures, please do email them to me with your credits etc. (please use Dropbox or similar for large files).

You can also contribute to our cause by reposting this but please try not to leak it to the "big" Swiss media as we're trying to keep a low profile to guarantee our outmost chances at the auction.

Part of the Mouse Museum of the Musée Bizarre © Wurzeltod - click to enlarge

The Walter Potter debacle must never happen again so let us preserve cultural uniqueness, outsider art and our eternally bizarre heritage while we still can to prevent the arts from homogeneity and predictability.

Thank you for your attention.


- Suzanne

P.S.: To see more pictures of the museum, please click here. Please excuse the bad quality - I took them with a very shitty camera back in the olden days before the introduction of megapixels.

Joao Ruas at "Lined in Lead", Gallery Nucleus, Alhambra

by Suzanne on March 13th, 2011

Le Sacre du Printemps II – Migration by Joao Ruas, graphite on paper, vellum and acetate, 2011 - click to enlarge

The magnificent Joao Ruas will be presenting gorgeous new graphite pieces at the Lined in Lead - Works in Graphite group show which will be opening at Gallery Nucleus next weekend.

There's works by many other artists in this exhibition and please do really, really, really... like REALLY check out David Jien's portfolio. It's all kinds of epic.

The full online preview won't go online before Friday but you can submit your details to be added to the buyers' preview.

Opening reception: Saturday, March 19, 2011, 7 - 10 PM

On show: Mar 19 - Apr 11, 2011

Address: Gallery Nucleus, 210 East Main St, Alhambra CA 91801, USA, tel: 626.458.7477 | Map & Directions

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 12 - 8 PM, Fri - Sat: 11 AM - 10 PM

Press release

Artist's website

Jon Beinart's "Dystopia" Group Show at Copro Gallery, Santa Monica

by Suzanne on March 13th, 2011

Non Omnis Moriar by Stephanie Henderson, 2007-09 - click to enlarge

This is one of those shows that really makes me wish I had spent more time working on bending the time/space continuum.

Jon Beinart - one of the finest curators in this star system and an insanely gifted artist on top of that - brings together the absolute crème de la crème of fantastic and surreal art for his Dystopia group show:

Kris Kuksi, Chris Mars, Viktor Safonkin, Laurie Lipton, David Bowers, Heather Nevay, Sandra Yagi, Carrie Ann Baade, Stephanie Henderson, Heidi Taillefer, Brian Viveros, Santiago Caruso, Mark Powell, Jon Beinart and many, many more.

The two works I selected won't be on show per se from what I can gather from the preview but I love them too dearly and it's really just to illustrate the insanely wide spectrum of great art you'll get to see at Dystopia.

Also: Kris Kuksi and Laurie Lipton will be signing copies of their new books at the opening reception!

Futher details below.

Condoned by Viktor Safonkin, oil on canvas, 2003 - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Saturday, March 19, 2011, 8 - 11.30 PM, book signing with Kris Kuksi and Laurie Lipton

On show: Mar 19 - Apr 9, 2011

Address: Copro Gallery, Bergamot Station Arts Complex, 2525 Michigan Ave , Unit T5, Santa Monica , CA 90404, USA, tel: 310/829-2156, email: CoproGallery@Live.com

Opening hours: Wed - Sat: 1 - 6 PM

Press release | Preview

Antanas Sutkus at Château d'Eau, Toulouse

by Suzanne on March 11th, 2011

Blind Pioneer by Antanas Sutkus, 1962 - click to enlarge

I stumbled upon one of the most amazing French photography galleries the other day: The Château d'Eau founded in 1974 by Jean Dieuzaide and located in an old water tower in Toulouse.

Until April 17, the gallery is showing Un Regard Libre, a retrospective devoted to Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus that makes my eyes water particularly because the above photograph that has haunted me for years will be on show.

Details below.

On show: Mar 9 - Apr 17, 2011

Address: Le Château d'Eau, Galerie municipale, 1 Place Laganne, 31300 Toulouse, France, tel: +33(0)5 . 61770940, email: chateau@galeriechateaudeau.org

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 1 - 7 PM

To order Antanas Sutkus' monograph at £60.00 or print sales contact Anya Stonelake: anya@whitespacegallery.co.uk

In Japan earthquake & tsunami news, sensei Trevor Brown has survived the apocalypse unharmed and is far away from the grotesquely large dark brown self-aware lava-like blob made of trucks, trains, houses, bridges, and BURNING forests swallowing up the landscape bit by bit like Katamari. :(

Kate MacDowell at Mindy Solomon Gallery, Florida

by Suzanne on March 10th, 2011

Sparrow by Kate MacDowell, hand built porcelain, cone 6 glaze, 2008 - click to enlarge

Uhmm.. I assume/hope/pray that the exhibition title for this show is mildly ironic - otherwise I'd be seriously scared:

Florida Souvenirs - Sand, Surf & Sin in the Sunshine State presents three works by porcelain artist extraordinaire Kate MacDowell: Gun Shy, Entangled (below) and Queen of Denial.

The exhibition opens this Saturday and there's an artist talk at 6 PM prior to the public reception at 6.30 PM. Details below.

Entangled by Kate MacDowell, hand built porcelain, cone 6 glaze, 2010 - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Saturday, March 12, 6 PM (artist talk), 6.30 PM (public opening)

On show: Mar 12 - Apr 30, 2011

Address: Mindy Solomon Gallery, 124 2nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, Florida, USA, tel: 727.502.0852

Opening hours: Wed - Sat: 11 AM - 5 PM and Tue by appointment


Artist's website

La reine des rats

by Suzanne on March 10th, 2011

Unknown artist - click to enlarge

I have no idea who this illustration is by and any hints are most welcome.

It came to me via spe//bound and sums up my state of mind with almost uncanny perfection.

EDIT 21:34

Thanks to Jescie for solving the mystery:

The Illustrated Police News reported a strange case in the 1870s...


A most appalling discovery was made last week in the town of Haverball. The circumstances of the case are both remarkable and horrible to the last degree. The facts are as follows:

For some months past a man named William Laslett, his wife, and a daughter (a girl about thirteen years of age) have occupied two rooms on the basement story of a house in Princess Street. Laslett, it appears, is a traveling hawker in the hardware line; he keeps a horse and cart, with which he travels from town to town, and has been accustomed to be absent from home six or eight weeks at a time. Occasionally, he would take with him his daughter on his traveling expeditions, but more frequently his wife accompanied him.

He left Princess Street with the latter seven weeks ago, Jane Laslett the daughter remaining behind. The young girl was seen by her neighbors for a few days after her parents had departed, when all of a sudden she was missed. The doors of both rooms in the occupation of the Laslett's were locked, and the natural inference was that Jane had left to join her parents, and she had been known to do so before on more than one occasion. Weeks passed over; the suspicions of the other occupants of the house that something was amiss became stronger every day.

An unpleasant and sickening odour crept up the staircase and found its way into the several apartments. On Monday last, a carpenter who occupied one of the upper rooms was prevailed upon to break open the door, which led to those on the basement, whereupon he was horror struck at the sight presented to him.

Upon the door being burst open, a legion of rats scampered in all directions. The greater portion of the body of the poor girl had been devoured by the rats. The medical gentlemen who have since made a post mortem examination, concur in the opinion that Jane Laslett died suddenly from disease of the heart of long standing - that her death had in all probability taken place some weeks back, since which time the rats had been feeding on the body.

The father and mother have not yet returned, nor do the neighbours know where to communicate with them.