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Death: A Self-Portrait at London’s Wellcome Collection

While the rest of the world is gearing up for Christmas, London’s Wellcome Collection is celebrating something, shall we say, a little more grim –  mortality. Death: A Self-Portrait is a tribute to the inevitable, and our rather complex relationship with that eventuality. The exhibition, which runs from now until February 24, consists of a carefully curated collection of art, historical artefacts, scientific specimens and ephemera.

Visitors can take in rarely-seen works from Rembrandt, Dürer and Goya, human remains, Renaissance vanitas paintings and twentieth century installations commemorating Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Certainly a contrast to the merry making that is going on all over the rest of London – but then again, in a very Tim Burton way, this exhibit is a needed reprieve from the commercial Christmas cheer swallowing up the rest of the city.

But it is not all macabre; much of it is quite beautiful, like the chandelier made of 3,000 plaster-cast bones by British artist Jodie Carey. There will also be a series of events running alongside the show. We recommend the “Death On Screen” event taking place on January 19th from 11am to 7:30pm. The event features a full day of films with various philosophical and even humorous takes on death, shedding light on our desire to make peace with our eventual demise.

Death: A Self-Portrait runs until February 24, 2013 at the Wellcome Collection. 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, www.wellcomecollection.org.

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New York February / March 2014
New York February / March 2014