Bodies – The Exhibition – Tucson, AZ
DISCLAIMER #1 – The article which you are about to read contains photos published with permission. All photographs in this article were taken by me, and remain the property of Lael Clark / Crucible Zine and Premier Exhibitions. All Rights Reserved. All of the photos have been watermarked by Crucible Zine, and the use of these photographs for any reason, without the express written consent of Premier Exhibitions is forbidden.
DISCLAIMER #2 – The photographs in the following article are of an explicit nature, and show the human body in different states of dissection for the purpose of education. View at your own risk.
When I found out that I was going to BODIES – THE EXHIBITION, I knew that I had to write about it. I contacted Ms. Kelly Lovell-Taylor, the Tucson Media Contact for Junxion Marketing and Media, who provided me with a press pass, and permission to take the following photographs. Before I go any farther, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Ms. Taylor for this amazing opportunity!
Going into this, I knew that there had been a lot of controversy, which I will get into a bit later. My fiance brought up the idea of going to this with her parents, and I readily agreed. My 12 year old future stepdaughter went to the exhibit with her father, and loved it. So I knew I had to see it for myself, and allowed my love of learning to take over. We went on Sunday, June 6th, and I do hope to return before the end of the engagement. This was, by far, the most fascinating exhibit I have ever had the honor of attending.
This will be an overview, as opposed to a play-by-play, due to the depth of information and knowledge to be had. You simply must go to this to see for yourself. Here in Tucson, it is being held at The Rialto Building downtown (address and price info is at the end of the article). Once inside, the layout of the whole thing is sectioned off, based on the various bodily systems you will see next. The first thing you encounter upon entering is a bare skeleton. In this section, you see the layering on of muscle tissue, and the respiratory and digestive systems. Now, as soon as you enter, you realize that this is not your typical museum exhibit. Not only do you get to see these systems, but you see them in more of a “real world” scenario. The bodies are posed in a manner that shows them performing different activities, and the way the body works while performing that activity; For example, conducting an orchestra, playing tennis, and in one room, a soccer player diving for the ball.
These posed action examples are offset by glass-case enclosed exhibits, that give you a more focused look. One of the main factors I noticed throughout, was the artistic nature of how it was all put together. I was hearing reports from people of how the exhibit was “too explicit for kids”, or “macabre”…I can’t agree with these criticisms.
As we were making our way through this first room, I noticed a little boy of about 6 who was visibly upset by his first few minutes in. I noticed this same little boy in a different area, some 30 minutes later, completely fascinated and intently studying the displays as closely as he could.
While the primary focus of the exhibition was to show how the body works, another focus was different maladies that we, as humans, bring upon ourselves. There are displays showing cancers of the lungs, esophagus, and breasts. The lung cancer display, for example, shows the healthy lungs of a non-smoker, and the cancerous lungs of a smoker. Situated between the two was a clear box for people to deposit their tobacco products into, if they are moved by the display to quit smoking. Apparently, more than a few were, as there were probably a carton’s worth of partial cigarette packs in the depository when I walked past it.
The reproductive system (pictured above), circulatory system (pictured below), nervous system, fetal development and more are all broken down for you in ways that the layman can appreciate. Nothing ever goes above your head.
Taking the very different approach of using actual cadavers, instead of plastic sculpture and artist rendition, the accuracy of the information you are absorbing is truly there in spades. It’s like taking a collegiate anatomy class in an art museum. Throughout the exhibition, you are accompanied by quiet classical music, and attendants in lab coats are on hand at all times to answer pretty much any question you may have.
With all the positive to be said for BODIES – THE EXHIBITION, I do have a couple of minor qualms. Ironically enough, the aforementioned attendants are my first. While they were available to answer your questions, it seemed that their knowledge was not uniform from attendant to attendant. For example, I asked three different attendants where the bodies came from to begin with (This has been the main point of controversy attached to the whole exhibition). I got three different answers. The most humorous of these came from one attendant who joked with my lady and I as he walked away about hoping “that this place isn’t haunted now…”.
My second is with the size of the Tucson version. This is being shown in other cities, and as such, some of those other cities’ exhibitions are reportedly quite a bit bigger. I spoke with one man who said that the one in Las Vegas was two stories, with three times as many displays. It just seemed like here, when you were finished, you weren’t really…finished. It left me wanting more.
Those two statements made, however, I have to go on record to say this: If the only difference between other cities’ exhibitions is the size, anyone who goes to see BODIES – THE EXHIBITION will be in for an eye-opening treat. The admission price is absolutely reasonable, and the knowledge you will gain is tremendous. Not only entertaining, BODIES… will give you pause to think about how you are treating your body. Beautiful in its artistry, vast in it’s depth, and fascinating in it’s sheer reality, BODIES – THE EXHIBITION is highly recommended for all. Go see this. You will not be disappointed.
There is still plenty of time to see BODIES… in Tucson, as the 8-week engagement opened on May 15th. Please check the website for open days and times in your city, as well as admission prices and more.
The Rialto Building, 300 East Congress
Admission: $22 adult, $14 children
Discount tickets are available.