Did you buy antique human teeth this weekend? Cop an aardvark skull? I did.
On Sunday, all walks of life convened in the basement of the Morbid Anatomy Museum for their first ever summer flea market, and let’s just say it was a macabre heaven. Patron favorites were Invisible Gallery’s vintage porn photos (people really got freaky in the ‘20s), Wilder Duncan’s darling taxidermy ducklings (“I can’t stop petting it,” one buyer quipped), and Oddities’ skull man Ryan Matthew Cohn’s osteological gems. All the booths were brimming with nonpareil finds, and I’ll be twiddling my thumbs until Morbid Anatomy’s next bazaar. I mean, really, where else would it be socially acceptable to say, “I need a human bone for somebody as a gift”?
Below, some of the novel and the gnarly things I learned.
At the Purevile booth, Wren Britton (left) said he gathers bones and vintage pieces to construct his ornate jewelry. “A friend of mine, his mom had saved all his baby teeth,” he says. “So I made him a ring, a broach and a necklace out of his baby teeth for his birthday this year.” Sweet!
Wren Britton’s handmade creations.
What is the weirdest reaction you’ve ever gotten to your taxidermy?
“A crazy homeless Polish guy in Greenpoint saying he’s going to burn down my table. That I’m a murderer, while he’s drinking a 40 on the street,” says Amber Maykut of Hoardaculture.
Flea-goers sift through Invisible Gallery’s vintage porn collection. “This looks like someone I know,” one woman said.
The man behind Invisible Gallery, who goes by David, says the porn came from someone’s grandfather’s estate sale. “When they talk about the modern imprint on morality, it’s like, please, people were always freaks,” he says. “I’ve seen things from the 18th century that would curl your hair.”
Elizabeth New’s ceramic skull cups.
“Morbid Anatomy has been once of the best things that’s happened to me since I moved to New York,” New, who has her master’s from Pratt in Industrial Design, says. “Knowing that you can go somewhere and just talk to people about weird stuff without having them look at you like you sprouted an additional head is totally amazing.”
Daisy Tainton’s rattlesnake tail earrings. Also, can we have that plate?
Wet specimen restorer Mark Batelli says he finds a lot of his creatures on Dead Horse Bay. He works at Obscura Antiques & Oddities in the East Village, where people bring in things like “deer triplets, or a conjoined dog in a mayonnaise jar.”
Mexican ink stamp artist and graphic designer Rebeca Olguin loves drawing penises, mushrooms, and jellyfish. “I just find it really appealing, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one,” she says.
Kayla Westfall, and her mother, Lisa, traveled from Connecticut and Long Island respectively to come to the flea. Lisa left with this adorable taxidermy duckling.
“She’s in love with it,” Kayla said.
What are you going to name it?
“Shirley,” Lisa chirps. “Shirley you can’t be serious.”
Mini mid-century modern cliff homes on horse vertebrae. Artist Nicole Antebi found the bones on Dead Horse Bay.
Cassandra Coan and her husband Evan are first-timers at Morbid Anatomy. They left with this fresh-faced Coyote and a baby in a terrarium from Amber Maykut.
“I just wanted something weird,” Evan said.
Ryan Matthew Cohn of the Science Channel’s Oddities and his spread of osteological goodness.
“A friend of mine that’s into witchcraft, he needs bones for a spell. I don’t even want to know. But I don’t want him touching my human skulls.”
An array of Cohn’s wet specimens.
In case you were wondering, that’s a tonsil guillotine.
“I think live babies creep me out the most,” Cohn says. “But you become desensitized at a certain point and things stop creeping you out. I don’t like things having to do with fecal matter. I don’t know where I draw the line.”
Photos by Jessica Militare