“Lovely Bones”


Friday, August 2, 2013


Pacific and Cooper Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

How many people exhibited objects?


How many people came but did not bring objects?



Posted by Pop Up Museum Intern Lauren Benetua

What was it about?

This Pop Up Museum on Lovely Bones was held collaboratively with art collective Carcassses and Companionship to explore the fragility of life and the vitality of death. People were invited to bring bones and display them along the art collective’s pieces, which featured artistic bone and remain art works.

Noting that no animals were harmed during the making of the Carcasses and Companionship pieces, the pop up emphasized the beauty of death and natural decomposition.  Many of these animal bones were collected  off the side of the road, or found half eaten and abandoned on the outskirts of a trail.  In some instances, some of the bones were collected from farms or pet stores, having died of natural or accidental causes.  This art collective and Pop Up dedicates the works to the natural cycle of life, and celebrated the spirit of the animal by allowing to continue a new life after its physical body had passed on.  The dazzling displays, jeweled adornments and gilded bones empowered the entities of the animals and brought its vitality into another dimension.

How did it go?

This was a unique Pop Up in that exhibitors of literal bones were scant.  But perhaps somewhere in between the stories of the lives of animals and pet owners, science enthusiasts or even omnivorous eaters, there was a wealth of appreciation in the exquisite adornment of these deceased beings.  A visitor from the street stopped in awe, and procured a bracelet made from vertebrae she strung together from a dead snake she found on a hike.  Displaying her precious treasure on our table, she shared with us the story of how she intimately arranged each vertebra, piece by piece, in the proper order to make her bracelet.  Another exhibitor shared the shell of her late pet turtle, who was lain to rest in the ground several years ago and recently dug up.

Soon, conversations were struck up between the exhibitors and all passersby.  In the Santa Cruz mountains, we are surrounded with a wealth of animals, and although we are aware of that, we don't always see them.  Lovely Bones offered us an opportunity to recognize the space we share with other living beings, and explore the relationships we have with them.  Other buzz around the table included exchanging methods of cleaning and aiding decomposition, upcycling organic materials, or how to keep the more delicate matter such as feathers or pearls in its original glamour.  We witnessed excited trades between a necklace for a goat head, and the gifting of two baby seal skulls to the artists.

The foot traffic of First Friday worked to our advantage.  Despite having a somewhat jarring theme, it was clear that the works and animals spoke for themselves, and the Carcasses and Companionship art collective excitedly welcomed visitors.  The end of this Pop Up came much too soon, as we continued to captivate the curiosity of observers and sharers alike.  The Lovely Bones Pop Up was nothing to do with decay and the grotesque, but rather with beauty, joy, life and death, and the transience of our natural time we share together among all living things on this earth.


Be sure to check the Santa Cruz MAH Pop Up Museum Pinterest for more photos!

You can also view their works individually by visiting Alisa's instagram, Laura's instagram and Paula's blog.