The Art of Death exhibition

14/09/2019 - 27/10/2019

It’s the 21st century and taxidermy is fashionable once more. Gone are the days where gentleman hunters were mounting the spoils of their morbid excursions, this Victorian art-form is currently experiencing a female-led resurgence that has a reverence for wildlife and conservation at its heart. It is this renewed interest in the art of taxidermy that The Metropolitan Club, in association with Hendrick’s Gin and Highwic, supported by the Auckland Museum, will explore in The Art of Death exhibition.

Leda and the swan
Leda and the swanexpand/collapse

The Art of Death is a multi-disciplinary exhibition by seven female artists which will transform the rooms of historic gothic mansion Highwic, into curious new settings. Supported by a programme of experiential activations, the exhibition will explore the the curious life affirming possibilities found in death, interrogate the macabre and its spectrum of gothic aesthetics as well as examining attitudes toward death, mourning and commemoration through creative cultural and social practices from the Victorian era to today.

Beyond enjoying these specially created installations, visitors can go ‘beyond the ropes’ and get up close and personal by taking an introductory taxidermy class, trying their hand at life drawings’ mysterious dark twin ‘Death Drawing’ with renowned artist Paris Kirby, attend a Hendrick’s Gin tea cup cocktail party or absinthe tasting, meet the artists at an afternoon salon or get the kids involved in a garden bug hunting art workshop. 

The exhibition will take visitors from taxidermy of the past, with a display of historical pieces from the Auckland Museum’s collection not normally on public display including a jaguar, badger, wombat and bear, as well as items from Highwic’s own collection, to the present, with room installations by artists Antoinette Ratcliffe, Karley Feaver, Hayley Theyers, Sophie MacDonnell, Jane Thorne, Paola King-Borrero and Kate Rampling. The Art of Death exhibition hopes that the experience of taxidermy and other death related art forms, combined with multi-sensory events and experiences, will encourage us all to live fully by exploring our own ideas of mortality.

The Art of Death events


  • Saturday 14 September – Introduction to Taxidermy workshop 10am to 5pm. SOLD OUT 
  • Thursday 26 September – Death Drawing with Social Ritual  7pm to 10pm
  • Saturday 28 September – Absinthe Obscura Macabre Poetry Evening 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
  • Wednesday 2 October – Bugging Out Children’s Holiday Workshop 12pm to 3pm
  • Saturday 5 October – Introduction to Taxidermy 10am to 5pm
  • Saturday 12 October – Meet the Artists Salon. 5pm to 7pm
  • Thursday 17 October – Death Drawing with Social Ritual 7pm to 10pm
  • Saturday 19 October – Absinthe Obscura. 6.30pm to 8.30pm 
  • Saturday 19 October –Bugging Out Children’s Holiday Workshop 12pm to 3pm
  • Saturday 26 October – Gypsy Jazz and Death in the Afternoon, featuring Voxnova  7pm to 9.30pm.

For further details and to book please visit

Event Details


  • 14 September - 27 October (Wednesday - Sunday)
  • 10.30am - 4.30pm
  • Highwic is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

How Much?

$10 per person. Entry fee covers both the house and installations for the duration of the exhibition. Installations occur in several rooms within the house.

Event programme and enquiries

A full programme of events and information for the curious can be found at The exhibition is curated by The Metropolitan Club.

For more information, please contact The Metropolitan Club’s media liaison Matt Wiseman on 021 892 515 or email


  • 40 Gillies Avenue - enter from Mortimer Pass
  • A small amount of parking is available on site for our visitors
  • Newmarket
  • Auckland
  • 1023

Contact Information

Opening Hours

  • Wednesday - Sunday
  • 10.30am - 4.30pm
  • Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday.


Adults: $10 Children: Free. Onsite parking available. Use your Entertainment Book voucher here. Please understand that surcharges may apply at times of special events.