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Representing Darwin : Art, Taxidermy and Bio-politics at the Darwin Museum Moscow, 1907-2009. / Simpson, Patricia.

2010. Paper presented at The Art of Evolution: Charles Darwin and Visual Cultures,Courtauld Institute, London, United Kingdom.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Harvard

Simpson, P 2010, 'Representing Darwin: Art, Taxidermy and Bio-politics at the Darwin Museum Moscow, 1907-2009' Paper presented at The Art of Evolution: Charles Darwin and Visual Cultures,Courtauld Institute, London, United Kingdom, 2/07/09 - 4/07/09, .

APA

Simpson, P. (2010). Representing Darwin: Art, Taxidermy and Bio-politics at the Darwin Museum Moscow, 1907-2009. Paper presented at The Art of Evolution: Charles Darwin and Visual Cultures,Courtauld Institute, London, United Kingdom.

Vancouver

Simpson P. Representing Darwin: Art, Taxidermy and Bio-politics at the Darwin Museum Moscow, 1907-2009. 2010. Paper presented at The Art of Evolution: Charles Darwin and Visual Cultures,Courtauld Institute, London, United Kingdom.

Author

Simpson, Patricia. / Representing Darwin : Art, Taxidermy and Bio-politics at the Darwin Museum Moscow, 1907-2009. Paper presented at The Art of Evolution: Charles Darwin and Visual Cultures,Courtauld Institute, London, United Kingdom.

Bibtex

@conference{3dde281f64204314b3b8dbf3fa66ce5f,
title = "Representing Darwin: Art, Taxidermy and Bio-politics at the Darwin Museum Moscow, 1907-2009",
abstract = "This paper looks at aspects of the relationships between art, taxidermy, bio-politics and the shifting representations of Darwinian evolutionary theory within the history of the Darwin Museum, Moscow from 1907 to 2009. The museum began in 1907 at the Higher Womens’ Courses institute in Moscow, with a collection of stuffed birds belonging to the founder, Dr Aleksandr Kots. It was nationalised by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and opened to the general public in 1924. Soviet Decrees in 1926, 1946 and 1968 promised the construction of a dedicated building, which, however was only realised after the fall of the USSR, opening in 1995. Today it is the leading natural history museum in Russia, designated the Scientific, Informational and Methodological Centre of the Russian Association of Natural History Museums, under the Russian National Committee of ICOM – the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History. What the new museum explicitly shares with its previous incarnations is a commitment to the use of art - including graphics, painting, photography, sculpture, taxidermy, as well as the art of museum display - as means to engage the viewer with Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and to emphasise the variety and variation in nature. Indeed, many of the current exhibits include art works and mounted specimens dating back to the earliest days of the museum’s existence. Today, as in the past, the displays are designed by artists in conjunction with curatorial subject experts. In narrating a partial history of the museum, I want to draw attention to the mesh of connections and contrasts with western approaches to Darwinian science and museological representations of evolution. Among the connections, are the use of taxidermy and art to provide an educational spectacle, particularly for the education of women; links with zoopsychology, early genetic science and discourse on eugenics; as well as reference to a ‘progress’ model of human evolution common in popular culture. The differences relate to how Darwinism was politically, and scientifically nuanced within shifting historical contexts: as intrinsically, politically radical in the pre-revolutionary era; as the basis for understanding and prompting a new stage of human evolution in the Revolutionary1920s-30s; and as diametrically opposed to genetic science in the Lysenkoist period between 1938 and the 1960s. I will begin by looking briefly at the role of taxidermy, leading on to consider the Museum’s engagement, firstly with issues of micro-evolution, and secondly with macro-evolution, where I will focus particularly on approaches to the evolution of humankind.",
author = "Patricia Simpson",
year = "2010",
month = "7",
day = "2",
language = "English",
note = "The Art of Evolution: Charles Darwin and Visual Cultures,Courtauld Institute ; Conference date: 02-07-2009 Through 04-07-2009",

}

RIS

TY - CONF

T1 - Representing Darwin

T2 - Art, Taxidermy and Bio-politics at the Darwin Museum Moscow, 1907-2009

AU - Simpson, Patricia

PY - 2010/7/2

Y1 - 2010/7/2

N2 - This paper looks at aspects of the relationships between art, taxidermy, bio-politics and the shifting representations of Darwinian evolutionary theory within the history of the Darwin Museum, Moscow from 1907 to 2009. The museum began in 1907 at the Higher Womens’ Courses institute in Moscow, with a collection of stuffed birds belonging to the founder, Dr Aleksandr Kots. It was nationalised by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and opened to the general public in 1924. Soviet Decrees in 1926, 1946 and 1968 promised the construction of a dedicated building, which, however was only realised after the fall of the USSR, opening in 1995. Today it is the leading natural history museum in Russia, designated the Scientific, Informational and Methodological Centre of the Russian Association of Natural History Museums, under the Russian National Committee of ICOM – the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History. What the new museum explicitly shares with its previous incarnations is a commitment to the use of art - including graphics, painting, photography, sculpture, taxidermy, as well as the art of museum display - as means to engage the viewer with Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and to emphasise the variety and variation in nature. Indeed, many of the current exhibits include art works and mounted specimens dating back to the earliest days of the museum’s existence. Today, as in the past, the displays are designed by artists in conjunction with curatorial subject experts. In narrating a partial history of the museum, I want to draw attention to the mesh of connections and contrasts with western approaches to Darwinian science and museological representations of evolution. Among the connections, are the use of taxidermy and art to provide an educational spectacle, particularly for the education of women; links with zoopsychology, early genetic science and discourse on eugenics; as well as reference to a ‘progress’ model of human evolution common in popular culture. The differences relate to how Darwinism was politically, and scientifically nuanced within shifting historical contexts: as intrinsically, politically radical in the pre-revolutionary era; as the basis for understanding and prompting a new stage of human evolution in the Revolutionary1920s-30s; and as diametrically opposed to genetic science in the Lysenkoist period between 1938 and the 1960s. I will begin by looking briefly at the role of taxidermy, leading on to consider the Museum’s engagement, firstly with issues of micro-evolution, and secondly with macro-evolution, where I will focus particularly on approaches to the evolution of humankind.

AB - This paper looks at aspects of the relationships between art, taxidermy, bio-politics and the shifting representations of Darwinian evolutionary theory within the history of the Darwin Museum, Moscow from 1907 to 2009. The museum began in 1907 at the Higher Womens’ Courses institute in Moscow, with a collection of stuffed birds belonging to the founder, Dr Aleksandr Kots. It was nationalised by the Bolsheviks in 1918 and opened to the general public in 1924. Soviet Decrees in 1926, 1946 and 1968 promised the construction of a dedicated building, which, however was only realised after the fall of the USSR, opening in 1995. Today it is the leading natural history museum in Russia, designated the Scientific, Informational and Methodological Centre of the Russian Association of Natural History Museums, under the Russian National Committee of ICOM – the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Natural History. What the new museum explicitly shares with its previous incarnations is a commitment to the use of art - including graphics, painting, photography, sculpture, taxidermy, as well as the art of museum display - as means to engage the viewer with Darwin’s evolutionary theory, and to emphasise the variety and variation in nature. Indeed, many of the current exhibits include art works and mounted specimens dating back to the earliest days of the museum’s existence. Today, as in the past, the displays are designed by artists in conjunction with curatorial subject experts. In narrating a partial history of the museum, I want to draw attention to the mesh of connections and contrasts with western approaches to Darwinian science and museological representations of evolution. Among the connections, are the use of taxidermy and art to provide an educational spectacle, particularly for the education of women; links with zoopsychology, early genetic science and discourse on eugenics; as well as reference to a ‘progress’ model of human evolution common in popular culture. The differences relate to how Darwinism was politically, and scientifically nuanced within shifting historical contexts: as intrinsically, politically radical in the pre-revolutionary era; as the basis for understanding and prompting a new stage of human evolution in the Revolutionary1920s-30s; and as diametrically opposed to genetic science in the Lysenkoist period between 1938 and the 1960s. I will begin by looking briefly at the role of taxidermy, leading on to consider the Museum’s engagement, firstly with issues of micro-evolution, and secondly with macro-evolution, where I will focus particularly on approaches to the evolution of humankind.

M3 - Paper

ER -