Gowanus’ own Morbid Anatomy Museum closes its doors

One of Gowanus’ most unique attractions, the Morbid Anatomy Museum, is no more.

The nonprofit exhibition space – founded by Joanna Ebenstein and Tracy Hurley Martin at the corner of Third Avenue and Seventh Street in June 2014 – has closed its doors indefinitely, according to collaborators, after two and a half years of intrigue.

“It has truly been an honor and privilege to have been intertwined with this rare and remarkable institution which has truly felt like a home, meeting place and community for so many of us all of these years,” wrote collaborator Ryan Matthew Cohn on Facebook. “There will certainly be a tremendous void and we will have to regroup and come up with a new place to share our love for all things anatomical, odd, and obscure.”

The museum, risen from the ashes of a former nightclub, was an expansion of founder Ebenstein’s long-running project, the Morbid Anatomy Blog and Library, that focused on “forgotten or neglected histories” using themes like nature, death, society and, of course, anatomy.

The museum – often lauded for its ability to go where no other exhibition spaces have gone before – included a lecture and event space, as well as a café and a gift shop.

Photo courtesy of the Morbid Anatomy Museum
Photo courtesy of the Morbid Anatomy Museum

Among its final exhibitions, according to the museum’s event calendar, were showcases like, “Taxidermy: Art, Science and Immortality” and “Do The Spirits Return?: From Dark Arts to Sleight of Hand in Early 20th Century Stage Magic.”

Its permanent collection, the Morbid Anatomy Library, featured thousands of books, photographs, artwork and artifacts relating to medical museums, anatomical art, cabinets of curiosity and other “oddities.”

“I am so thankful for the experience that is/was Morbid Anatomy Museum,” wrote another friend of the space, Romany Reagan, on Facebook. “’Experience’ is the only word I can use, because the space was not merely a building for exhibitions or a platform for lecture series – it was a lighthouse and homing beacon for our community.”

While the closure has been confirmed, collaborators claim this is not yet the end for the Gowanus cornerstone.

“This is not the end of Morbid Anatomy, just a pause. There will be a rebirth in the near future,” added Cohn, stressing that, “all we can do for now is stay tuned.”

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