Portfolio

Recent writing highlights from Allison C. Meier:

Minik and the Meteorite, how an Inuit boy was brought to New York with a meteorite by an Arctic explorer, and spent much of his tragic life trying to retrieve his father’s skeleton from the natural history museum. [Narratively, March 19, 2013]

The Graves of Forgotten New Yorkers, a New York Times op-ed written in collaboration with Bess Lovejoy on why Hart Island, New York City’s Potter’s Field, should be public space. [New York Times, March 18, 2014]

The Art of Accumulation at a New Orleans Shrine to the Plague Saint, a reflection on the creation of shrines in response to the Saint Roch Chapel in New Orleans. [Hyperallergic, June 3, 2015]

On the Trail of New York’s Greatest Trees, my essay on two years of visiting New York City’s greatest trees, from curious elms to towering redwoods. The article was published on both CityLab and Narratively as part of their “My Secret City” collaboration. [CityLab and Narratively, April 17, 2017]

Why a Herbarium of 7.8 Million Plants Is One of New York’s Most Valuable Resources, on my visit to the second-largest archive of plant specimens in the world. Located in the Bronx, it’s a valuable, but fragile, portrait of our botanical past, and is supporting important research on climate change and invasive species. [Hyperallergic, April 11, 2017]

From Blue Whale Skull to Narwhal Tusks, Behind-the-Scenes at the Smithsonian Marine Mammals Collection, a journey through the colossal whale bones stored at the Smithsonian, with the people who research and collect these colossal specimens. [Atlas Obscura, October 17, 2014]

Beyond the Curio: A Native American Artist Who Never Quite Breaks Free, a story on the legacy of artist Woody Crumbo, who worked to promote respect of contemporary Native American art, and created some wonderfully spirited depictions of animals, dancers, and scenes of the fading traditions of Native American life. [Hyperallergic, December 13, 2012]

A Tale of Two Explorers, a story on the maligned arctic explorer Frederick Cook, who claimed to be the first at the North Pole ahead of Robert Peary, and his still-standing Bushwick home. [Brooklyn Based, December 4, 2012]

New York City’s Trash Is a Museum of Treasure, my visit to the obscure museum of trash created by a sanitation worker in East Harlem. [Hyperallergic, April 24, 2017]

Marking an Artist’s Forgotten Grave with His Own Sculpture of Death, on remembering the 19th-century sculptor Thomas Crawford, who created the statue on the dome of the United States Capitol. [Hyperallergic, June 29, 2016]

Relics of Horse-Drawn Transportation, looking at how although our modern cities have moved on from relying upon the horse, there remain traces of this equine past in our infrastructure. [Mental Floss, July 25, 2016]

The Unsung Female Muses of New York’s Public Sculpture, delving into the stories of the real women behind the allegorical faces in New York City’s statuary. [Hyperallergic, February 15, 2016]

Last Midnight of the Steam Whistles, a report from the final New Year’s Eve blowing of the steam whistles at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, a 50-year tradition run by the man who maintains the campus steam engine with its full 19th-century technology. [Atlas Obscura, January 7, 2015]

The Forgotten First Woman Violinist to Perform on the American Stage, exploring the life of the pioneering 19th-century violinist Camilla Urso, and her overlooked Brooklyn grave. [Hyperallergic, April 27, 2016]

Taking Stock: Six Artists From the First Three Years of Recession Art, catalogue essays for a book on six artists, published by Recession Art. [Recession Art, 2012]

The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne Talks About the Womb, Damien Hirst, Acid, and Yoko Ono, an interview with the Flaming Lips frontman about the new freaky arts complex he’s leading in Oklahoma City called the Womb. [Hyperallergic, January 28, 2013]

Two Martyrs of Science Rest Hand-in-Hand in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the story of a fatal 1875 balloon flight where two scientists couldn’t resist flying too high, and their touching memorial in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. [Atlas Obscura, March 29, 2013]

Climbing into a Mortuary Drawer to Smell the Scents of JFK’s Last Moments, in which I find out what it’s like to spend four minutes inside a box with the scents of a fateful day in Dallas. [Hyperallergic, April 19, 2016]

The Singularly Curious Weeping Elm, on the Camperdown Elm in Prospect Park and how the sideways-growing tree was saved by a modernist poet. [Brooklyn Based, October 16, 2012]

The Robots Being Built to Cross the US-Mexico Border, a profile of artist Chico MacMurtrie and his legion of pneumatic robots. [Hyperallergic, April 14, 2016]

Belle Starr the Bandit Queen: How a Southern Girl Became a Legendary Southern Outlaw, the fact and fiction of an infamous lady outlaw. [Atlas Obscura, April 3, 2013]

The Webcam of an 18th-Century Philosopher’s Skeleton, in which Jeremy Bentham gazes at the present from the afterlife. [Hyperallergic, March 25, 2016]

The Spite House, an Architectural Phenomenon Built on Rage and Revenge, a jaunt through an architecture of vengeance. [Hyperallergic, January 26, 2016]

Blind Chaos: Yvonne Meier’s The Shining, a review of Yvonne Meier‘s reconstructed early 1990s experimental dance experience The Shining at New York Live Arts, where the audience is pulled through a cardboard box maze in the pitch dark by dancers carrying flashlights. [ARTINFO, December 18, 2012]

Rescuing the Logbooks of 19th-Century Whaling Ships, a feature on how conservators are protecting the waterlogged records of whaling expeditions. [Hyperallergic, March 21, 2016]

Director Ivo van Hove Brings His Immersive Shakespeare Epic Roman Tragedies to New York, an interview with the director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam on his theater production Roman Tragedies at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which linked Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra into one sprawling piece for which the audience was invited to sit on stage. [ARTINFO, November 15, 2012]

Midwestern Futurism: The Endangered Legacy of an Avant-garde Architect, an essay on the work of architect Bruce Goff and his legacy. This story was also featured by Salon. [Hyperallergic, August 22, 2012]

Accursed Canvasses: Exploring the Macabre Market for Haunted Painting Online, a look into the genre of supernatural art for sale online. [ARTINFO, September 20, 2012]

From Courbet to the Bronx, The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Names Gets Marriage Memorial, a story for which I talked to artist Patricia Cronin on her sculpture “Memorial to a Marriage,” which shows Cronin and her wife sleeping in bed together, and is installed at their future shared resting place in Woodlawn Cemetery. [Hyperallergic, October 10, 2011]