How the Skull Is an Ally in Art

When the Ultimate Symbol of Death Serves as Muse, It Can Force Us to Confront Our Own Mortality

You walk through the darkness of the crypt, with choral music playing from hidden speakers. All around you, human bones are arranged in patterns, tiling the walls, divided by femurs, skulls, hip bones. Skeletal arms are crossed and nailed into the wall, making the symbol of the Franciscans, normally painted, out of the real thing. Even a child’s skeleton has been strapped to the ceiling, like a fleshless cherub, but decked out as the angel of death, scales in one claw-like hand, a scythe in the other.

The scariest place …

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The Game of Non Existence

Did you ever play at non-existence?

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no one else would’ve shown two kids:

how to lean forward under the counter,
under our …

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Raising the Pine

The welwitschia mirabilis

lives, knotted, for thousands of years
out in the African sun. Its two leaves
become a tangled mass of time

as they grow outward.

O Namibia. O …