Common Shade: Gatherings at Green-Wood

Credit: Steven Acres
Credit: Steven Acres

Morbid Anatomy Museum and Green-Wood present Common Shade – a dialogue existing on the borderlands between the living and the dead. Hosted in Green-Wood’s intimate Historic Chapel, Common Shade will cultivate a social space for death – a place to examine death’s prevalence in our lives, and its shifting place in history, art, culture, and society.

Drawing from Green-Wood’s bucolic setting and using history as our anchor, each night’s presentations will include dialogue and interviews with guests. Together with artists, practitioners, scholars, and peers, Common Shade discussions will explore our humble acknowledgments of and engagements with death.

$25 for non-members / $20 for members of Green-Wood, BHS and the Morbid Anatomy Museum.

Cash bar (free for Green-Wood Key Holders) available at each event.


Tuesday, June 16, 7:30pm
Catherine Gallant on Isadora Duncan’s Dances of Mourning
(click here for tickets)

In the early 20th century, Isadora Duncan’s innovative dances changed the art world forever. But it was the sudden death of her children that most influenced her life and work. After losing her two young children to drowning, Duncan poured her grief into dance. She created her Grande Marche and other dances expressing grief, mortality, and mourning, as well as remembrance and rebirth. Catherine Gallant is a student of Duncan, and regularly performs these dances. She’ll perform these emotional dances to live music, before discussing Duncan’s process, her relationship to her children’s death, and how Gallant connects to Duncan and her artistic outpouring of grief.

Tuesday, August 11, 7:30pm
Dr. Seth A. Gopin on the Rural Cemetery in Paris and Beyond
(click here for tickets)

Beginning in the Middle Ages, the dead lay among the living in Paris city centers. Over time, Parisian graveyards, like all inner city burial places, ran out of room. The creation of Père Lachaise Cemetery was the culmination of a struggle to reform burial practices, and this radical idea of a “cemetery” became the basis for all the burial traditions in the west, including Brooklyn’s own Green-Wood. Dr. Gopin’s lecture will trace the tradition of mass burial in Parisian church graveyards to the modern idea of the world’s first cemetery, Père Lachaise, in 1804. Dr. Gopin will discuss how this shift influenced our attitudes toward death, and how his background affects his own feelings and relationship with the topic.

Tuesday, October 13, 7:30pm
“La Santa Muerte (Saint Death)”: Documentary Screening and Moderated Discussion with Director Eva Aridjis
(click here for tickets)

In Mexico there is a rapidly growing cult – that of Saint Death. This female grim reaper, considered a saint by followers but Satanic by the Catholic Church, is worshipped by people whose lives are filled with danger and/or violence- criminals, gang members, transvestites, the sick, drug addicts, and families living in rough neighborhoods. “La Santa Muerte” examines the origins of the cult and takes us on a tour of the altars, jails, and neighborhoods in Mexico where the saint’s most devoted followers can be found. Gather in Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel for a screening of the film followed by discussion with the film’s director, Eva Aridjis and Common Shade’s host Evan Michelson. Eva Aridjis is a Mexican filmmaker who has produced and directed several award-winning feature films, including the documentaries “Niños de la Calle” (Children of the Street), “La Santa Muerte” (Saint Death) and “Chuy, El hombre lobo” (Chuy, The Wolf Man) and the narrative films “The Favor” and “Los Ojos Azules” (The Blue Eyes).

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