Imitating Life: Taxidermy and the Fine Arts

Saturday December 5

2:00 PM  –  3:00 PM


When the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences, now the Chrysler Museum, shuttered its natural history displays decades ago, a menagerie of animals was evicted from its galleries to make way for paintings, sculptures, and other objects thought to be more suitable to a world-class art museum. While the museum seemingly became more specialized and modern, the history of taxidermy has always been closely linked to the history of art. Join us for a continuation of the Curator in Your Computer series as we explore the intersections of taxidermy and art, from the invention of the modern methods of preserving animals in the eighteenth century by American portraitist Charles Willson Peale to contemporary artists who have incorporated taxidermied creatures as a means of probing humans’ relationship to the natural world.  As taxidermy more commonly finds a place within the art museum, a surprising discovery may be that it belonged there all along. 


About the Speaker

Corey Piper, PhD, the Chrysler Museum's Brock Curator of American Art, holds a doctorate from the University of Virginia with a dissertation on the imagery of hunting in nineteenth-century American art. Since joining the Chrysler team in 2017, Piper has curated and co-curated several exhibitions, including Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals and Watercolor: An American Medium. Piper's broad experience includes curatorial work with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where he worked on several of exhibitions and gallery installations and served as co-curator for Catching Sight: The World of the British Sporting Print. His scholarship has been published in Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, The Burlington Magazine, and The British Art Journal. He is currently co-organizing Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820–1920, which explores the widespread influence of Spanish art and travel on American painters.

Get tickets to the entire Curator in Your Computer series here.

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