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The University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts



May 11 - July 29, 2018

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.




TOP: GEORGIA HENKEL, Love Letter from a Dark Tourist, 2018,
1940's Army blanket that swaddled multitudes
Flaming tutus from Barbara Ann's dance recitals
232 of Aunt Mildred's handmade doilies
Willie B's satin comforter from the Everglades, now full of baby urine

83 single socks screaming for a second life as puppets

Flannel nursing gown worn from 1984 (Madison) through 1997 (Emma)

Papa's Scottish golf clothes

Grammie's nightgowns eaten by her dog

Cashmere hoodie from disruptive relationship'

Hairball with toothpaste cap and rusted barrette, 1998

Aunt Jessie Lou's oriental rug that was walked on by alligators

5 pronghorn antelope jaw bones, Christmas gift from Dave Marsh

African clawed frog from dumpster on Pleasant Stone

Guatemalan tree burls

Lagenarias gourds from Bob Morgan, 1997

Claire the goldfish that died of Ick

Mick Jefferie's melted squash

Beaver, squirrel and rabbit face, a 50th birthday gift

Baby doll rescued from acetone cleaning, Owensboro, Kentucky

Option for body parts reveling a wide range of vulnerabllities 

Courtesy of the artist 

"There is something at work in my soul that I do not understand." ~Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Image bottom: ROBERT MORGAN, Ancestral Head #3. 2017, mixed media.