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World Goth Day, May 22

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Sheltering at home these past two-and-a-half months, I feel a small pang of sadness every time I spot a talk or tour on my calendar that I was scheduled to lead at the museum. Despite — or perhaps in recognition of — the suffering of so many worldwide amidst the global pandemic, today, May 22, myriads of shrouded souls across the globe celebrate World Goth Day. While I may not be able to guide friends and strangers through the museum galleries in an exploration of iconic Goth music paired with masterful works of visual art, I can at least share my own personal pairings in this highly abbreviated manner. I hope you enjoy.

Young Grecian woman in a forest setting sitting on a log inspecting a wound in her foot
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Wounded Eurydice, 1868/70. Art Institute of Chicago, 1894.1042

I’m always a sucker for Classical literary references in counterculture.


Still frame detail of Bela Lugosi as Dracula about to bite into the neck of a young damsel
Andy Warhol, The Kiss (Bela Lugosi), 1963. Art Institute of Chicago, 1987.60

Dracula is such a tragic romantic.


Small ceramic vessel formed and painted to appear like a bearded male head with strong with a strong widow's peak hairline
Vessel in the Form of a Severed Trophy Head, 180 B.C./A.D. 500, Nazca, South coat, Peru. Art Institute of Chicago, 1957.425

No, no. Warhol’s Lugosi is very much alive (undead?). This poor soul is dead, yet eternalized.


Lastly, an emblem of corrosion, corruption, and hypocrisy.

Full portrait of a standing decaying man amidst a decaying luxury interior backdrop
Ivan Albright, Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943/44. Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Ivan Albright, 1977.21

And some bonus content. Sure, they’re veering more towards Synthpop than Goth, but these are two very dear songs to me.

What songs resonate most with you in the Gothic genre?

Which songs and works of art would you pair, and why?

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