This year is the 200th anniversary of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, written when she was nineteen years old. Since it was first published in 1818, the Gothic tale of Victor Frankenstein and the grotesque creature he makes has been adapted into numerous forms of popular entertainment and has been used to prompt discussions of ethics, science, law, religion, and art. For example: Are potentially harmful experiments justified if they produce new knowledge? Are parents responsible for the acts of their children?
Frankensteinian presents a range of artworks, literary documents, models, and pop culture items that refer to aspects of the novel, from the “workshop of filthy creation” with its tools and tables, to the accumulated body parts that are stitched together to make a man who seeks understanding and love. The exhibition attempts to prompt viewers to read or reread the novel, and consider the ways that the Frankenstein story may already have played a part of their lives in the form of horrific and humorous films, Halloween costumes, and their own notions of beauty and behavior.
Special thanks to Jamie Day and the Monroe Moosnick Medical and Science Museum at Transylvania University, Jaime Marie Burton and the UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center, Jeff Babbitt and the UK Chemistry Glassblowing Lab, and other lenders.
VICTOR FALFAN Mexican, born 1934, Untitled, 1970, watercolor on paper, Collection of the UK Art Museum, Gift of Reverend Edwin B. Fountain
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