Advise and Consent: On the Americanization of Body Worlds
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Judging from attendance records worldwide, Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies is perhaps the most successful exhibition ever. But while it has been the subject of intense legal, ethical and cultural controversy in Europe, the exhibition has been hailed by the American press, museum curators, theologians and medical professionals as a homage to the wonders of the human body, a wonderful educational vehicle and an admonition to healthful living. The article explores this affirmative American response to Body Worlds, considering changes in the exhibition venue and presentation, as well as discourses surrounding it, that have conferred a new respectability on Body Worlds and suppressed a critical engagement with its ethical, aesthetic, ideological and economic implications.
Keywordsaesthetics aestheticization Body Worlds commodification consent Gunther von Hagens plastination
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