Following article about culture, history and art of Cabinet of Curiosities was produced on the occasion of the solo fine art  exhibition by Takeshi Yamada entitled “Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities” at the Brooklyn Public Library – Coney Island Branch in Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York. The manuscript was produced by Dr. Eriko N. Bond, noted art critic and book author in New York City, as told by Takeshi Yamada. Photographs featured in this article were taken by Yamada, his friends and associates.

 

 

Takeshi Yamada in his Chamber of Curiosities in Baltimore, Maryland

36 x 30 inch, oil on canvas, 1983 (Detail)

 

Takeshi Yamada’s Recent Cabinets of Curiosities

Since 1984, Takeshi Yamada has held a large number of public pay-per-view exhibitions of his circus sideshow gaffs (taxidermy and manmade specimens/artifacts) across the nation in America. These specific types of exhibitions are not “normal” fine art exhibitions (free for viewing and each attraction is for sale) at universities, museums, government buildings and commercial galleries by Takeshi Yamada.

 

Note: Government run (non-profit) institutions sometimes do not allow artists to engage in selling any artworks at the exhibition site during the show. Examples of them where Osaka City Hall in Japan, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Salt Marsh Nature Center, Orchard Beach Nature Center, Brooklyn Public Library (main branch and all the branch locations).

 

Yamada’s circus sideshow gaffs have been displayed at state fairs and stadiums in major American cities. Here are selected examples of Yamada’s major sideshows. These are not Single-O Shows (show of only one attraction) or small Tent Shows (show with only a few gaffs).

 

Baltimore, Maryland

Manhattan/Brooklyn/Bronx/Syracuse/Hamburg/Elmira, New York

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Chicago, Illinois

Meadowlands/East Rutherford, New Jersey

Vero Beach/Kissimmee/Tampa, Florida

Augusta/Lawrenceville, Georgia

Raleigh/Winston-Salem, North Carolina

 

Note: Yamada has over 1,000 items of natural curiosities, oddities, unique artifacts, and gaffs (mostly created by him). His largest one is the Giant Sea Serpent of Glasgow, Massachusetts (31 feet 7 inch long). His smallest one is the Human-faced Ant (he has about a dozen of them).

 

The following series of photographs features Takeshi Yamada’s selected major circus sideshow exhibitions in New York City, in the style of a Cabinet of Curiosities in recent years.

 

The Cabinet of Curiosities by Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders installed for a local

sideshow company ($1 fee for viewing) in Coney Island in the summer of 2005. Over 3000 people

paid for and enjoyed his sideshow. This Cabinet of Curiosities contains 29 high quality rare

specimens and sideshow gaffs created by the artist. It was considered by many as the largest

and most comprehensive “Store Show” style sideshow held in Coney Island in many decades.

 

 

Yamada’s Chamber of Curiosities at a local sideshow company in Coney Island in 2005.

(left) A large wooden bird cage with two Chinese Vampire Monkeys and their nests.

(right) Curiosities on the wall include 4-feet Fiji mermaid, artifacts of Dreamland fire of 1911,

and 4x6 feet shadowbox containing five pieces of circus sideshow gaffs and a painting.

 

Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders transformed the main auditorium of the Salt Marsh

Nature Center in Marine Park area of Brooklyn, New York into a giant Chamber of Curiosities.

Yamada exhibited over 58 circus sideshow gaffs and artworks entitled “Homage to the Horseshoe

Crab” there in 2003. (Sometimes the director of the exhibition hall demands more “artistic” display,

which means a lot of empty space between each item.)  (photograph by Eriko N. Bond)

 

  

 (left) At the above mentioned show, Yamada gave a public art lecture on horseshoe crabs,

wildlife-inspired artwork, and sideshows. He also gave a live musical performance of his originally

composed musical pieces by using his computer for public.  (photographs by Diane M. Taros)

(right). Yamada’s original horseshoe crab telson dipping pens on the stand, 18-inch Nuclear

Radiation Giant Stag Beetle of Bikini Atoll, Horseshoe Crab Warrior Helmet and a Skull

Of the ancient warrior excavated from the Palace of Ocean are displayed in glass fish tanks.

 

 

In 2003, Yamada transformed the huge space of the Arsenal Gallery (owned and operated by the

New York City Department of Parks & Recreation) in Manhattan, New York, into a chamber of curiosities

with his 86 gaffs and artworks. (Here again, the gallery director required greater spacing between displays.)

 

 

(left) Yamada with his Sea Rabbit at the 2006 opening reception of another solo exhibition,

this one at the Salt Marsh Nature Center, entitled “Rare and Extinct Marine Creatures” 

(right) Yamada exhibited his 54 pieces of exotic specimens, gaffs and taxidermy

artworks on the walls and in a dozen fish tanks. Yamada also gave a lecture on the art

of circus sideshows, taxidermy, and wildlife conservation. (photographs by Diane M. Taros)

 

 

Yamada’s shows at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Art Gallery in Red Hook area of Brooklyn,

New York in 2005 and 2006. The number of exhibition items was restricted for each wall space

by the show organizers for these art shows. Yamada also selected attractions mainly fit for wall

mounting display except his Coney Island Bland Exotic Canned Foods on the pedestal there. 

 

Yamada at the Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus in 2006. This unique theme sideshow is held

on the occasion of the New York State Marine Education Association Annual Conference. Yamada

belongs to several major non-profit wildlife conservation organizations and participates their events.

 

 

Continue to Part 3 

 

All rights reserved by Takeshi Yamada, November 2006. Revised April 2007.

Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders in Coney Island, 1405 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11224, USA.

E-mail: yamada108@aol.com

Special thanks to Eriko N. Bond, Lauren D. Travis, and Deborah Zingale.

Takeshi Yamada © 2007 Copyright all rights reserved


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