Five men standing inside the ruins of a Gothic church, at night. Aquatint, ca. 1800 by an unknown artist. Courtesy of The Wellcome Collection

Utopia / Dystopia: You Can’t Kill What’s Already Dead

  • Wed 17 – Tue 2 April 2019
  • 7 – 9 pm

‘Who has turned us round like this, so that, whatever we do, we always have the aspect of one who leaves? Just as they will turn, stop, linger, for one last time, on the last hill, that shows them all their valley -, so we live and are always taking leave.’ - Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegy

For this spring's second installment of Utopia / Dystopia, an ongoing series co-presented with Morbid Anatomy, we explore the world of the Gothic.

The term Gothic can refer to an aesthetic, a sensibility, an architectural movement, a type of novel, a type of music, a fashion statement and a lifestyle. To be gothic is to be alternately heavy and ethereal, colorful and drab, immoral and virtuous. Gothic is hilarious and melancholy, conservative and transgressive. Gothic is a lifelong obsession, a passing phase, an epithet and a misnomer.

Gothic is camp, theatrical and often ridiculous. It can be foolish, shallow and annoying. It can be sensuous, uncanny and sublime. There are as many ways to define the gothic as there are people who have fallen under its spell; from Walpole’s country villa to the band Bauhaus and beyond, the gothic has been revived and reinterpreted in every era, and it continues to comfort, confound and fascinate to this very day.

But there is a kind of continuity to the gothic - a thread that runs though the centuries, through all the revivals and reversals; there is the seed of an idea, and a way of being in the world. That central idea looks backwards while it moves forwards. It is immortal: you cannot kill what is already dead.

Evan Michelson is an antiques dealer, essayist, lecturer, award-winning curator and collector of strange, rare and beautiful objects. She has been the co-owner of Obscura Antiques and Oddities, a landmark in New York City’s East Village, for more than 20 years. Evan was also the co-star of the hit reality TV series ‘Oddities,’ which ran for five seasons on Discovery Science, and a founding board member of Brooklyn’s very own Morbid Anatomy Museum. She has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times and The Financial Times of London, and was recently spotted in a mosh pit in one of New York City's most venerated independent musical venues.

The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited, RSVP is required.

The entrance to Hauser & Wirth Publishers Bookshop is at the ground floor and accessible by wheelchair. The bathroom is all-gender. This event is low light, meaning there is ample lighting but fluorescent overhead lighting is not in use. A variety of seating options are available including: folding plastic chairs and wooden chairs, some with cushions.

Water, tea, coffee, beer, wine, and snacks will be available for purchase.

Parking in the vicinity is free after 6 PM. The closest MTA subway station is 23rd and 8th Ave off the C and E. This station is not wheelchair accessible. The closest wheelchair accessible stations are 1/2/3/A/C/E 34th Street-Penn Station and the 14 St A/C/E station with an elevator at northwest corner of 14th Street and Eighth Avenue.

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