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Dead Heads

It’s a summer of skull art and science at the Bedford Gallery and Cal Academy.


Nature’s Skull by Rachel Caldwell

Skulls are the ultimate icons. Used as symbols throughout history, they are beautiful and grotesque, archaic and modern. The Skull Show, opening June 12 at Walnut Creek’s Bedford Gallery, features 50 artists from around the world who use this compelling symbol of life and death to make a statement.

“Since art school, I’ve been fascinated with the way the skull has held its position in history,” says Curator Carrie Lederer. “It shows up everywhere across many world cultures and has made its way to skate, surf, and tattoo art, as well.”

Works in the exhibit range from sculpture and painting to mixed media, photography, and video, and include screen prints by Andy Warhol and a 1983 ceramic piece by Funk movement forerunner Robert Arneson.

In a nod to the contemporary, the Bedford will include a video loop of artist, author, and blogger Noah Scalin’s Skull-a-Day project. Scalin, deemed one of the godfathers of the skull renaissance, posted a skull every day in 2007, starting on June 4—now known as Skull Appreciation Day.

Crania Anatomica Filigre: Binary by Joshua HarkerJune 12–August 31; for more information, go to bedfordgallery.org.


Worth the Drive

For a more science-focused take on skulls, head across the Bay to the California Academy of Sciences. In Skulls, more than 640 specimens will be on exhibit, from a large African bull elephant to a tiny shrew, plus live and interactive displays such as beetle larvae eating a skull clean right before your eyes. May 16–November 30, calacademy.org.


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