Des Moines
Des Moines

this week

weekly art forecasts from Central Iowa

Who’s exhibiting and opportunities for artists

Dr. Seuss is an epic badass.

Kavanaugh Art Gallery, Spring Gallery Night in Valley Junction

April 12, 2012


Exterior of Kavanaugh Art Gallery. Photo: Kavanaugh

Response by guest contributor Holly Wist 

April 23, 2013

You didn’t know Dr. Seuss made taxidermy sculptures, did you? Me neither. Reproductions of Dr. Seuss’ Unorthodox Taxidermy are on display at the Kavanaugh Art Gallery in Valley Junction.

In the 1930’s Seuss used horns and beaks from the zoo where his father worked to make sculptural pieces. The creatures look like exotic game mounted and stuffed for a billiard room. (Maybe somebody’s smoking a cigar in there.) The appearance of them makes me wonder, who is shooting Dr. Seuss characters?


Dr. Seuss “Mulberry Street Unicorn” circa 1938, and reproduction

Seuss tackled racism, environmental concerns, and such in his storybooks. I think the confusing, unpleasant deadness of these creatures is intentional. Given the way we treat real animals, Dr. Seuss’ ought naught to be exempt.  Imaginary creatures are thrust into very real circumstances.   

Curiosity about Dr. Seuss’ Unorthodox Taxidermy prompted me to spend the better part of two days on a cyber adventure into the art of taxidermy. Robert Rauschenberg, Damien Hirst, and Berlinde De Bruyckere were noteworthy.

If you’re still hungry for more, “Taxidermy in Art” has a fantastic overview of contemporary artists working with taxidermy. See:

Holly Wist is an artist working in Des Moines. Read about her recent exhibitions, Interjections and Viking Funeral.