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  • Susan Elaine Jones

Timeline of death (in art)

After the wonderful, lovely, joyful, belly laughs of the Death and the Maiden conference, I have been resting. I did present the full Marathon scale of Progressive Acceptability, and did throw sweets to the audience to make the point stick. I also ran out of time; in my rehearsals I made allowances for throwing, but not the catching of sweets, or the distraction of seeing someone spot an unclaimed starburst on the floor, and slowly slinking out of their chair to get it unobtrusively. The best compliments of the conference included:

"you got some velocity behind those sweets"

"you've got a good throwing arm"

Not bad for 14 years with ME! But also, in response to my theory that, after decade of death denial, dead things have slowly re-emerged into the visual arts and become progressively more acceptable, a trend I'm calling visible death, one delegate commented:

"you've quantified something I think we all suspected, but couldn't prove"

Which I hope is the case. I did sit down and work out that I have probably reviewed the work of around 5000 artists listed in galleries, exhibitions, displayed in museums or winning in competitions: Of those, I have studied the website or portfolio of around 700 artists to put in my OCA degree artist research, all in the effort to build on existing art styles - what few there are for images of dead remains.

Anyway, because a number of people commented that they were frantically trying to make notes of the artists I was mentioning, and then the ones I didn't get a chance to mention, I've put together this rough and ready reference picture of artists by subject and timescale.

Timeline of artists using dead remains, (c) 2017, Susan Elaine Jones

Note, a number of these artists were working in earlier days, but didn't show their work or get picked up by galleries until more recently; again suggesting to me that they just weren't acceptable until recently.

I hope you find this helpful.

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