Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Claws for Alarm

Simon Costin

Simon Costin (British, b. 1963). “Memento Mori” Necklace, 1986. Black synthetic tulle with jet-bead and rock-crystal embroidery, two bird claws, carved black wood beads, and three rabbit skulls with hematite eyes. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Alfred Z. Solomon-Janet A. Sloane Endowment Fund, 2006 (2006.354a–c).

Simon Costin’s work reflects his interest in decadent literature of the late nineteenth century. His use of taxidermy, seemingly retrieved from some obsessional collector’s cabinet, and his incorporation of materials evocative of the late Victorian cult of mourning are poised between poetic morbidity and necromantic glamour. Unlike Damien Hirst’s laboratory-like presentation of antiseptic carcasses, Costin’s pieces have a fetishistic and totemic allusiveness. The pronounced Gothic aspect of his work is underscored by the carefully crafted boxes in which his pieces are presented. Each one is inscribed by hand, not with the clinical nomenclature of the collector/amateur but with the subjective introspection of the romantic.

In order to take myself back to when I was making jewelry in the late 80s, when these two pieces were created, I dug through all my old sketchbooks and found the ones that contain the preparatory drawings and notes from the time. Littered throughout the pages are quotes ranging from Angela Carter, Walt Whitman, Morrisey, de Sade, Heraclitus, Tennyson, Poe and W. B.Yeats. During my time at art school I had been drawn towards the fin-de-siecle, Decadent artists: Gustave Moreau, Arnold Böcklin, Jean Delville, Odilon Redon, Edvard Munch, and particularity Max Klinger. Writers and poets of the time also had an influence: Verlaine, Rimbaud, and Baudelaire and later Wilde. My bible at the time was an astonishing novel, À Rebours (Against Nature), written in 1884 by J. K. Huysmans, which told of strange sins and twisted passions. It was to the hero of this book, the aristocratic aesthete, the Duc Jean Floressas des Esseintes, that many of my pieces were dedicated and in particular the “Memento Mori” necklace. Not having trained as a jeweler but having a basic grounding in taxidermy from when I was a child, many of the pieces I made used animal matter: teeth, bones, skin, and hide. I wanted them to be darkly Shamanic and fetishistic works. I was trying to clothe my psychological state in a personal symbolic language in order to visualise them. Symbols and Symbolist works, depicted the pattern of the human psyche.

I had been researching the way in which the early Christian church had tried to overlay a totally foreign religious practise onto that of the British Isles. It was the Christian theologians and their deep hatred of anything Pagan, who provided me with the starting point for the “Incubus” necklace. It was their insecurity and hypocrisy which led to an innocent Pagan sprite or “Bogel” to become the ideal excuse for the stained sheets of monks and the unexpected pregnancies of nuns. Within the Pagan mindset, the Bogel was thought to be an inanimate spirit who formed a corporeal body from mud and roots. Seen as nothing more than a nature elemental and something of a trickster. The early church saw in this sexless imp the possibility of passing off the suppressed but entirely natural inclinations of the clergy. They split the spirit in two, creating the male Incubus and the female Succubus. The Succubus was thought to visit sleeping men, usually of the most “robust” sort, and would proceed to have “carnal relations” with them in order to “draw out their most precious fluids”. These would be kept in glass vials and passed onto the Incubus who was then free to fly off and impregnate the nearest dozing nun.

Thus the early church began its appropriation of the earlier Pagan folklore for its own rather dubious ends in much the same way that the Pagan Horned God became the Devil. The positive force of the Old Religion became the negative one of the new.

The “Memento Mori” Necklace was inspired by À Rebours. In the novel there is a description of an extravagant dinner that the hero holds to mourn the temporary loss of his virility. It is an all-black feast featuring “Turtle soup, Russian Rye bread, ripe olives from Turkey, caviar, mullet botargo, black puddings from Frankfurt, game served in sauces the colour of liquorice and boot-polish, truffle jellies, chocolate creams, plum-puddings and black heart cherries.” I imagined myself a guest at the feast and created the necklace as a suitable adornment. It is formed from rotting Victorian jet, skulls, and a pair of huge talons. Many years later I went on to wear the piece at the first of an ongoing series of all-black banquets held every two years and entitled “Dine with Death.”

—Simon Costin

Comments (106)

  1. Gloria Guinness Says:

    Superfreaky and perhaps too, too much to considering looking at for too long, let alone wearing. It is like the kind of necklace a comic-book sorceress would wear or a female witch doctor. Though I am seriously creeped out by it, I have to remember how much I have admired Edwardian hats with taxidermic birds tucked amid the tulle.

  2. Joshua Cartwright Says:

    Literature is for reading, not wearing.

  3. Stephanie Caldwell Says:

    Would make a lovely scarf, but is way too much for a necklace.

  4. Laurie Aron Says:

    Gloria Guinness, Joshua Cartwright and Stephanie Caldwell all have good points to make. But this necklace really is an extraordinarily well-realized bibelot of A Rebours and decadent art and poetry. As a vegetarian, however, I recoil, but I’d wear it if the bird and rabbits died natural deaths, on a black chiffon robe with long semi-shredded pointed sleeves and a demure neckline.

  5. Eliza Williams Says:

    all the shoes from the 1700s to now are very different from each other and its cool to see how they changed

  6. La Bricoleuse Says:

    I think this piece would have been shocking and fascinating to me at the time it was created (1986)–now, though, i’ve seen wannabe-spooky goth kids and fetish drag-queens with chicken feet hanging around their necks or tied into their hair that i’m like, whatever. I’ve seen similar crap worn by the chick who rang me up at Pearl Art last time i was there. It’s interesting, but nothing unusual in 2008. I hate to sound like, “Taxidermized bird feet are SO passe,” but…i guess that’s kind of what i’m saying. :)

  7. Laurie Aron Says:

    Say it, La Bricoleuse! Bird feet are passe! (I hope you’re reading this, chick at Pearl Paint.)

  8. Eliza W. Says:

    thats good

  9. sirius Says:

    If I had lived in the nineteenth century, I could have bought shoes. How tiny the women’s feet were.

  10. tommy Says:

    looks yummy!

  11. Hilary Says:

    I think it sucks

  12. Erica Says:

    i think that it was good because of the different styles and fashion in the world today they have old clothing from 1775 to 2007 that is how interesting it is

  13. abigail Says:

    I think it was interesting but really gross. It reminds me of a bird thinking. It’s Cool! Go Bird! Go Bird! Go Bird!

  14. Erica Says:

    there is alot of different fashion about the shoes and other things that is excellent about this exhibit

  15. April Howard Says:

    I love the idea of wearing this hard edged piece which incorporates taxidermy with a simple draped silk dress.

  16. estelle Says:

    It’s very interesting to notice how post-modern fashion uses the same ways to curve its way through as post-modern art, cinema and literature: referentiality, pastiche, nostalgia and estrangement.

  17. Sandra Says:

    I think this is the most distasteful object in this exhibition. I think using taxidermed animals or animal skulls in art or fashion is distasteful and disrespectful to animals. This comment is from someone who loves art and fashion and studied art history on the graduate level.

  18. nesrin d. Says:

    OMG. those claws are so scary! I really think it’s a waste of time to design things that make people hurl. Personally, out of the entire exhibit I think it’s the worst item there.

  19. Lori Ettlinger Gross Says:

    Perhaps the shock value attributed to this work isn’t so much in the use of rabbit skulls and bird claws as it is that the artist considers this a “necklace”. This work combines nineteenth-century Victorian naturalism with the seventeenth-century’s obsession with morality and mortality. Examples of Memento Mori jewelry, where skeletons and coffins serve as motifs for rings are sought after by collectors; their unusual and sometimes grotesque forms are rarely an obstacle in terms of attraction.

    The fact that the artist sees this article as adornment is what sticks in my craw, if you will. This piece is clearly sculpture–and just because it uses the human form as armature does not categorically ensure its status as jewelry. And as a work of sculpture, the artist is successful–the work assaults the eyes of the observer as surely as the screech of the bird whose claws hang from the neck of that mannequin. As adornment it fails to draw a connection between it and the wearer–its form is simply all consuming and far too conceited.

  20. The Lulzinator Says:

    “Distasteful”? In your opinion, maybe. It’s fashion, it’s art, and the guy did it as a tribute to the things he loved. Get over it, and get off your high horse. “Disrespectful to animals”? Newsflash: the animals don’t care. People have been doing this kind of thing since before “fashion” was even a recognized concept.

  21. Andreas Says:

    Somebody must have been having a bad day when they designed this!

  22. Victoria Gladstone Says:

    This necklace is astonishing! Even without the historic and literary context its beauty is derived from its form and materials. Mr. Costin’s embrace of the dark touches a real sensitive cultural spot. Black skin is beautiful, and night’s embrace is beautiful as is the infinite cosmos. We reject this beauty out of fear of our own mortality, and that is largely engendered by religion. As an example:


    Chapter 1 -

    2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
    3. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

  23. Gitta Says:

    The old is better and more impressive than the new

  24. lj Says:

    Looks mean. Georgia O’Keefe may have rejected this!

  25. Laurie Aron Says:

    Estelle has an excellent point that pertains to almost everything in this show. What is NEW? Can we think of anything new? Is it possible? Should we? Nothing new under the sun? Except maybe Hussein Chalayan’s LED frocks, and even they are referential, just to outside of the fashion world.

  26. Laurie Aron Says:

    P.S. In regard to post-modern art and fashion, I’m an artist, and fell very easily into referential mode, giving artist talks on my historical antecedents, etc. Now I’m trying very deliberately to push off into the new–all within old-fashioned collage–and finding that fashion keeps creeping in as a propulsive force.

  27. Sammy Grob Says:

    REALLY CRAZY!!!!! It would look good on an indian. Or someone who collects necklaces.

  28. CMEggplant Says:

    Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee…..Walk into a gallery and the first thing you see is a terminal.

    So cool. Don’ even have to look at stupid art any more…..The first thing I did is start typing. Excellent.

  29. Rick Says:


  30. Susan Ruel Says:

    It’s fascinating to contrast this necklace, from the mid-80s, with the Elsa P. snake belt of 10 years previous. While I “get” the Symboliste references and morbid Victorian aesthetic, ultimately this object is so utterly revolting that only those with deep-seated issues — (crossdressing, part-time taxidermist Anthony Perkins’ character in PSYCHO, perhaps?) would actually want to wear it to adorn themselves. Troubling….

    Susan Rita Ruel

  31. Nina Says:


  32. AlexGW Says:

    I love how this necklace is called “Memento Mori”…so fitting! I would wear that if it wasn’t so adorned with…dead stuff…but still, though morbid, it is a work of art.

  33. Josie Says:

    I think this piece is interesting to look at and I understand that the artist is pulling from his love of 19th century style and literature. However, there is something very unappealing about this necklace. It is not even the skulls and claws that I find unlikable, but I even have a negative reaction to the shape and size.

  34. Kathryn Says:

    This piece cobines three interests - Victorian Gothic literature, costume & natural history. Creepy…

  35. Lynne Says:

    A bit strident, and one supposes the artist as a young child continually crying “look at me….”

  36. Louis de Geofroy Says:

    Roadkill art - recycle everything!

  37. Marguerite Says:

    It was gross. Poor animals. The same artist probably poaches fur and ivory.

  38. Pat F Says:

    I loved the exhibit, my son Anthony was impatient as usual.
    Why, it must have taken people so long to get dressed in the early days of fashion !!

  39. Michael Miller Says:

    although impractical, its the only piece ill remember from here a month from now.

  40. Fabian Says:

    This design is excellent, and tastful, though not tactful. It’s crazy looney goofy and wacko. I love it.

  41. Sophie G. Says:

    I wouldn’t wear it on a first date.

  42. Tatiana Says:

    its weird!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Lily Monir Matini, Esq. Says:

    the skulls are shocking and the claws look downright menacing
    wouldn’t wear it

  44. Robert I. Says:

    The layering is clever. It is extremely English and would prove perfect inspiration for someone like Alexander McQueen. It reminds me of Judy Blame’s work in i-d around the same period.
    I personally would love it in my cabinet of curiousities.

  45. Emi Says:

    WOW!! I really loved this peice and would totally wear it on any ocasion. Espcailly Halloween!!!!!!!!!! My favorite part were the claws it really rocked my world!

  46. Kristal Says:

    Yes - it’s a little creepy, but also wonderfully fascinating. I’m completely entranced.

  47. Gloria Says:

    Pertectly Weird Perfectly placed amonst the fascinating exhibit

    Today it does not shock, but it still evokes various and sundry EWWWWWs!

  48. caelie Says:

    i think they definetly describe an era of victorian life. there was a strange obssesion with mortality at that time, as well as in the dark ages, and it is far more facinating than most of the other lighter periods of history. to ressurect that morbidity and create a new form of art with it i think is very daring. possibly one of the most contraversial pieces in the whole gallery. i would wear it, if only the stuff weren’t real.

  49. Janet Says:

    I think this piece is horrible!! Who would wear rabbit skulls and bird claws! Why do we kill animals for fashion?

  50. Eliza Says:


  51. cheryl hurwitz Says:

    The nicest dress was the Rodarte dress. The others looked unwearable.

  52. freddie Says:

    Ugh or ugly. Shocking but not everyone’s cup of tea. Back to square one–start again.

  53. Kenny R. Manuel Says:

    In my opinion, it is a very unique accessory because I have never seen a necklace that was made out of rabbit heads and claws. It was very creative.

  54. Jeweler Says:

    Interesting. This is more like a breastplate than a necklace. Or more like a sculpture than a breastplate, if you will. I wish the image allowed one to take a very close look at the beadwork. This piece is less attractive than “Incubus”, but his artistic intent is more convincing here. I find it interesting that the artist admits he would wear this piece as jewelry. Many men don’t wear jewelry at all so they have not learned how jewelry can affect how you sit, move, or even hold a glass at a cocktail party. I suspect he took the necklace off after about 4 hours of having it dig into the back of his neck and making his chest sweat. (He did say synthetic tulle.) Of course this assumes he did not turn too quickly causing the necklace to hit someone too close to him. You have to think of these things if you want to make jewelry, but not if you are making a sculpture.

  55. marina urbach Says:

    “Memento Mori” Necklace, 1986. Black synthetic tulle with jet-bead and rock-crystal embroidery, two bird claws, carved black wood beads, and three rabbit skulls with hematite eyes.”
    Again, if we keep in mind the year this object was constructed, we will get an inkling of the pathos involved at the time.
    The two Costin pieces in this exhibition have a “Shamanic and fetishistic allusiveness”, they allude perhaps to “strange sins and twisted passions”.
    “Personal symbolic language” is perhaps the key in order to experience these two works, rather than to try to master them by “understanding”…We could have an aesthetic experience, even if we do not understand it. The emphasis here is on experience, not on “understanding”.

  56. Barr Says:

    This is discusting. Using dead animals as art is passe. JUST SAY NOW TO DEAD ANYTHING HALLELUAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. Jess Moore Says:

    Wow I’m so glad I saw this piece on the blog. Giant dramatic necklaces are a very important part of my wardrobe so of course I love it. This piece has the power to command the attention of an entire party. It is alluring and also a little terrifying- I want it.

  58. Petra Slinkard Says:

    Visually, this piece is more amazing in person than I had expected

  59. Sasha Says:

    This was one of the few pieces from the Anglomania exhibit that really stuck to me. I did some research into memento mori necklaces after being disgusted and fascinated by this piece.
    It is not so much for wearing as it is a sculpture created to make one ponder how to dress. It conjures ideas related to literature and history, which in turn makes me question the references at home in my closet - the Indian scarves, Native American jewelry, African prints, etc. I consider what made me attracted to these pieces - the beauty and exoticism. This necklace is indeed ‘exotic’ in that it is the Other, a creation wrought of skulls and claws, made in a disturbingly intricate and fussy Victorian way. The combined fanciness of the black base decorated with body parts is repulsive, but profoundly interesting.
    I also do not find the skulls and claws to be ‘disrespectful’ to animals. In some ways, I think that this necklace makes one MORE aware of the use of animals in fashion. We don’t layer skulls and bones across our collarbones, but we wear leather, fur, and skins without much thought. Carcasses were the first forms of cloth humans used because of the warmth provided. The interest of this necklace lies in the fact that it is a piece of jewelry, and therefore is of a purely decorative nature. The rabbit skulls are pure show, making the ‘creepy-factor’ more pronounced.

  60. Aaron Raz Says:

    I guess I’m really disappointed. There’s nothing unusual in this piece, except in couture-world. You can see pieces just like it at any goth store, renaissance faire, and cheesy fantasy convention in America. Not just now, but when it was made as well.

    Which brings up the idea that “style-makers” in any field often aren’t inventing anything–they recycle work considered ordinary by the community that created it. In a different community, the same things become avant-garde and new. It’s a translation process.

    But it does become annoying when the translator/borrower takes a product whole cloth (so to speak) into another community, changes nothing, and is hailed by that community as a genius…while the culture from which s/he took the item is still considered worthless. It happens consistently in subcultures–”The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” was hailed as a transformative work of feminist reinvention by a literary community ignorant of its identity with Internet fan-fiction romances–but it’s also an echo of a larger issue–how “high-culture” productions respond to most of the world’s cultures and their work.

    Without some kind of translation and borrowing process, everybody’s cultural productions get pretty stale. But there’s got to be a better way than putting a typical cultural product like this in the Met under the rubric that it’s a unique work of genus by a fashion “auteur.”
    Just something to think about.

  61. Elle Says:

    this is one of the rare pieces that I would actually wear. it is very symmetrical and I like that it looks like an old native status symbol.

  62. Sarah Stannard Says:

    When this was seen in person, I realized that the bird claws and rabbit skulls were real! It freaked me out a bit. This is an extremely creative piece, but not something I would wear. I also believe in animal rights, so even if the animals were already dead, I find it cruel to do that to an animal’s body. All in all, this piece is unique, but not my taste.

  63. Desmond Says:

    The rabbit skulls and the bird claws are too much for me. Besides that, I think it looks hideous. It’s more a ceremonial bib than a necklace.

  64. Kendria Smith Says:

    This necklace is a perfect example of fashion as art. Not expected to be “light and pretty” to the sight but not all art is. Fashion is used as an expression and you can only wonder what the designer was thinking at the moment of conception.

  65. Rachel Says:

    EW. Maybe this would be considered art or fashion to some people, but not to me. The claws and the rabbit skulls are gross and make you look like someone who picks up roadkill on the highway every day.

  66. Merna Says:

    I wonder if it smells…and who would want to come near you in it?

  67. Kristin Says:

    It was interesting to see this up close, however I must say that I found it quite disturbing. I do not see anything attractive about this piece. I have no clue why anyone would ever make something like this. I do have to say, that is it almost that same idea as fur. Skulls, bird claws vs. fur of an animal. Hate it.

  68. Ashley Says:

    The Claws for Alarm piece was very unique. When I first viewed it I was not sure what it was. Upon closer look I saw that the necklace had claws on it. It was so hard for me to believe that someone actually wore it. This piece was so unique and creative. I’m not sure I would actually wear this piece, it looks extremely uncomfortable and would draw way too much attention.

  69. Hannah Montana Says:

    This can so totally fit the best of both worlds!

  70. sophie c Says:

    who says beauty can’t be beastly?

  71. nuyorker Says:

    This could be a Goth symbol!!!

  72. Triple Rainbow Says:

    This necklace is disgusting.

  73. Lilly Says:

    I think this necklace Is revoltingly disgustingly horrifiyingly Terribly CRUEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is an insult to birds! We are killing a bunch of them just for some hideous necklace that no one would ever wear. I can’t stand it. It is so UGLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  74. Rhett Says:

    This is really scary and weird but also quite beautiful.

  75. leslee Says:

    I think it is creepy and looks like a comic book superheros necklace.

  76. elizabeth P Says:

    I like it even though it’s a tad creepy. I wouldn’t wear it but it’s artistic.

  77. Kat Says:


    *pause for thought*

    …Oddly enough, I like this piece! It wasn’t what I expected, but it’s certainly striking, and it feels almost like a wearable totem. The animal bones were a nice touch as well; the use of the animal skulls would probably be more pronounced if I saw it in person. “Memento Mori” (Remember you will die) indeed…:)

    This is certainly art…but not exactly jewelry. The Vial Things necklace would be more along the lines of wearable jewelry, perhaps?

    (A quick word to those would consider the skull etc. to be cruel and/or sick: do you even know how he obtained the skulls and claws? Using roadkill, which would simply rot on the side of the road, could be considered a form of organic recycling. If the birds were specially collected from roadkill, the bones would have been crushed beneath the rubber and iron wheels of our own cars if left where they lay, and so at least the bones were saved from destruction by being remade into art. Just a point for consideration)

  78. Sharon Betesh Says:

    I can not imagine wearing a necklace like this, it looks like it is so heavy and uncomfortable to wear around your neck especially if its for a long night. This necklace is beautiful and it is a piece of art and if someone were to wear this, they would definitely make a statement when they walked in.

  79. some person Says:

    creepy and very disturbing

  80. marina urbach Says:

    ‘ A quick word to those would consider the skull etc. to be cruel and/or sick: do you even know how he obtained the skulls and claws? Using roadkill, which would simply rot on the side of the road, could be considered a form of organic recycling. If the birds were specially collected from roadkill, the bones would have been crushed beneath the rubber and iron wheels of our own cars if left where they lay, and so at least the bones were saved from destruction by being remade into art. Just a point for consideration ‘
    Excellent point.

    The responses to this piece tell more about the writers, than the piece itself.
    It is a common reaction to get defensive and on an attack mode, when we are confronted with something we do not understand. A good trick to try to ‘understand’ would be to open a parenthesis, and stop calling this a necklace and just call it art. Once we calm down, we can go back and call it a jewel, or whatever we want!

  81. Paul Fitzgerald Says:

    this is a badass necklace. of course, i don’t support the use of animal products in art, but i’m pretty sure that the artist didn’t go out and kill any rabbits specifically for this. it’s excellent because it inspires unintelligent people to comment, “zomg thatz disgusting”, and allows for more conflation between sculpture and fashion, which i think it needs. definetly one of the cooler pieces in the show, the whole cabinet over in that corner was awesome. woo museum blogging.

  82. Not telling Says:

    I thought that the objects used in this peice were weird but all in all it was a pretty good peice. i liked that the lace was intwined with the bird claws and that it was a symeterical peice. so it was a fastenating peice in my opinion.

  83. Airen Miller Says:


  84. Airen Miller Says:

    To see this piece in person is an experience to change you. With talons blazing, the necklace seems to be a fantastical “parisitic simbiote”, honoring the host (wearer) with the adornment-of-death in a macabre aesthetic. SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL. A dance of death and beauty.

  85. Vernon Says:

    Love the dresses!!! Fabulous!!!

  86. Dawn Franchina Says:

    Simon Costin’s revisionist history of the early Christians in Britian compliment his lack of originality in his supposedly shocking pieces. Death, blood, semen, and oppression were woven in to the macabre environment of the time. Human sacrifice and sexual agony were a way to connect with the Gods and to fulfill the unquenchable human desire for personal self above all else. It’s too bad Costin wasn’t a part of that early British “scene.” I might not have had to confront the revealed torture of his soul through his obvious adulation of himself on a March afternoon in New York.

  87. jackie Says:

    I thought it was very creative I enjoyed looking at it although I would not want to wear it

  88. Hannah Says:

    Scary and painful at the same time.

  89. Char Says:

    No, just no.

  90. meimi1995529 Says:

    I have a friend who would think this was REALLY cool!!!

  91. talia and mom Says:

    this is really ugly. it freaks me out. who would wear that. no offense.

  92. ambii Says:

    hot like me

  93. Jay Says:

    this would deff be my next belt buclke

  94. Roarlivia Says:

    I’m a teenager and I absolutely hate it. Everyone pretends to be somebody and everyone follows in groups. People who are “gothic” think they’re original because they are controversial, this is all in their heads. I think if these people saw some of Simon Costin’s work it would ground them more. I think they’d be blown away from how unique a person can be and still be part of a certain style. They would also be shocked by the fact that they aren’t as “Totally outrageous and controversial!” as they thought.

  95. liza Says:

    why has the poetry on the box escaped everyone’s notice?

  96. bryan Says:

    this is dumb.

  97. Josey Says:

    While I enjoyed the concept of the necklace, the sheer dinamics of it were only fair enough. Down in the District, we have museums that have much more sophisticated and employable usages.

    Overall Rating: Fair Enough.

  98. Antoniya Ivanova Says:

    beautiful work of ART!

    great attention to detail and choice of materials and textures. i love the hematite eyes and the boxes each of his pieces is presented in with a story long each one of them.

    for the people that are repelled by it: it might have helped if you have read what the artist have to say about it and open your mind………

  99. cc and sunbun Says:

    Although I’m sure these creatures did not die of “natural causes,” it’s almost giving them a life after death. By looking at this piece you immediately begin to think about these animals and their place in the world. Able to appreciate the role they play in the circle of life. I’m a proud supporter of animal rights, and yet I find some slight enjoyment in this piece and don’t have as many problems with it as I do fur.

  100. marina urbach Says:

    ‘for the people that are repelled by it: it might have helped if you have read what the artist have to say about it and open your mind….’

    Good point. prábda!

  101. Emelyn Says:

    Personally this made me so sad. This necklace killed 3 rabbits and one bird. I’m pretty sure they were baby rabbits by the head size. That’s so sad! Also, who would wear this?!

  102. Alexa Says:

    I think this is a fabulous piece, it happens to be my favorite in the exhibit. Its amazing how literature, no matter how morbid or strange, can influence one so much to create and design a piece that is used in the fashion world. Without looking at the date, I would have thought this piece was made a lot earlier than 1986. If it were made later, perhaps it would have had more of an effect on the fashion world and others would have a different view of it. It is a piece that should not be overlooked, for it has true depth and meaning of why it was created.

  103. Haley Snaily Says:

    Poor bunnies!!

  104. marina urbach Says:

    ‘It is a piece that should not be overlooked, for it has true depth and meaning of why it was created.’

    Good point.

    Indeed it should be considered in the context of art, literature and
    fashion itself.

    ‘Human sacrifice …. were a way to connect with the Gods’

    True, and this does not contradict the spirit of this work of art.

    ‘Simon Costin’s revisionist history of the early Christians in Britian compliments his lack of originality in his supposedly shocking pieces.’

    History is constantly revised and revisited. The ‘new historians’ always know best.
    A ’shocking’ quality in itself has no aesthetic value!
    Simon Costin’s work is original, personal, peculiar, devine, exquisite,
    special, relevant, inspiring, theatical, poetic, oneiric, and just fabulous, as in a fable: the plot of a literary work, a story that is not true, a fictitious story, whose characters are usually animals.

  105. Charly Says:

    I notice you don’t have a photo of the Incubus necklace, but I cannot help but comment. One can wear almost anything you can hang on your body and still walk with, but I can find little reason to call it fashion, unless fashion includes the vile excrescence of a diseased mind. I cannot find the beauty, no matter how hard I might try.

  106. marina urbach Says:

    ‘I cannot find the beauty, no matter how hard I might try.’

    Try again: There are two necklaces: this one ‘Memento Mori’ and
    ‘Incubus’. The image of ‘Incubus’ is on top of the image of
    ‘Memento Mori’ on the left side of this ‘page’.

    ‘I can find little reason to call it fashion, unless fashion includes the vile excrescence of a diseased mind.’

    You do not have to call it fashion, you could call it art.

    In her book ‘Powers of Horror’, an essay on abjection, Julia Kristeva confronts and examines the mechanisms of the abject.
    ‘ Why do body excretions, corpses fascinate while repulsing?’
    Kristeva analyzes writers who embrace the phenomenon of abjection like Dostoevky, Proust, Artaud and Céline.
    ‘Looking to biblical history and taboos in primitive societies, she points to the disjunction between the sacred and the profane.
    It is precisely in this disjunction where we can locate the work of
    Simon Costin.

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