Body Exhibit Draws Crowds and Criticism

Writer Janna Winter, Photography Nicole Caldwell
Columbia News Service
Mar. 29, 2006
Photo caption: Dr. Todd Olson, chair of the Anatomical Committee of the Associated Medical Schools of New York, stands with a cadaver under a sheet at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y.

NEW YORK -- Reflexology students Siobhan Bedell and Sandy Kovan walked through the black-walled gallery stopping in front of a body lying in repose, deboned like a fish.

They made their way through the exhibits,
past a fetus hanging from a sliced-open belly, following the crowd to another dimly lighted room of nameless cadavers. And they pondered the idea of donating their bodies to such a show when they die.

"I wouldn't do it on the spot," Kovan said. "I mean, who are these people?"

Bedell and Kovan were at "BODIES...The Exhibit," at the South Street Seaport in New York City, one of at least five competing exhibits touring the country that display cadavers in various states of disassembly. The first one, launched in July 2004, was Gunther von Hagens' Body World in Los Angeles. The South Street Seaport show, which opened in November, has drawn crowds of the curious. But it's also raising concerns among medical education experts who fear these museum exhibits are flouting antiquated or lax laws regarding the possession and transportation of human cadavers.

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