Exquisite Corpse by Mark Nelson

Exquisite Corpse

Presenting the most compelling explanation yet for the bizarre nature of the Black Dahlia murder, this volume includes never-before published crime-scene photographs and links the alleged killer to a vast array of influential people.

Details Exquisite Corpse

TitleExquisite Corpse
Release DateSep 18th, 2006
PublisherBulfinch Press
GenreCrime, True Crime, Art, Nonfiction, Mystery, History

Reviews Exquisite Corpse

  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    Want a hint? If you want to read a true-crime book without looking like a creep or a washed-up housewife, choose one that's disguised as an art book. Well...that's not entirely true. This is more of an art book parading around as a true-crime study. The authors make some interesting points concerning the symbolism throughout Surrealist art (the minotaur, the bisected or dissected or otherwise slopped up and chopped up female form, the connections...
  • RB
    I was interested in "Exquisite Corpse" because of my love for Ernst and Duchamp and a passing interest in Man Ray and the whole surrealist circle of friends who also made, mostly, fascinating art. However, in this book, we are focused on the surrealists move to L.A. (New York for Duchamp) and a friendship with one George Hodel who, judging by the circumstantial evidence presented here, committed the infamous Black Dahlia murder. And while some of...
  • Meg
    While I usually DETEST the inclusion of the crime scene and autopsy photographs of Elizabeth Short in books, the reason they are included in this book is necessary. Exquisite Corpse builds from the belief that Dr. George Hodel was the man who murdered Beth, and compares Beth's death with a lot of famous surrealist art of the time, an art form which Mr. Hodel was obsessed with, and which often focused on the broken bodies of women. The comparisons...
  • lisa_emily
    Honestly, I never really knew much about the Black Dahlia murder until I read the review of this book in late Sept. I became fascinated by the book, since I had studied Surrealism, with many different angles, as an art history student. This connection of surrealism to a murder was a radically strange approach for me. It is irrelevant whether or not they solve the murder by the end of this book. I appreciated the analysis connecting the Short's sa...
  • Doug
    As a piece of research, this book is very good. It has completely convinced me, through some of the most disturbing photographs I have ever seen, that the Black Dahlia murder was almost certainly some twisted surrealistic artistic expression, of a kind not normally associated with modern psychopathology. There are rich connections and inferences to be made here, in terms of how responsible an art movement is/should be for the corruption and encou...
  • Eva
    A quick read and an impulse sale purchase. "Exquisite Corpse" refers to a game played by artists involved in the Surrealist movement of the early 20th century. This book is primarily an exploration of several of the major players in that movement and the themes of sadism and violence against women that were pervasive in work by many artists and in fact seem to have been a uniting theme across the decades. The theory presented within the book is t...
  • Teresa
    I got this book from my boyfriends mom for christmas. She kind of apologized when she handed it to me and then referred to all of the 30s and 40s crime photo books on my Amazon wish list. hmm awkward. Then I couldnt really read it there because it is full of naked corpse photos and it was you know....christmas. But I REALLY REALLY wanted to.I thought it was pretty rad. She gave me a half dozen books for christmas and this was definatley the one t...
  • Betsy Murphy
    Wow shows the photos of Miss Short's murdered and butchered body ! But I can see how her body placement is like those of the Avante garde surrealism . Especially those of Man Ray's and Duchamp art work until William Copley who artwork is dead on like how her body was posed - makes you wonder . So its a good quick read but if weak in the stomach don't .
  • Jeff
    This book really only makes sense if you've read Hodel's Black Dahlia Avenger. It is NOT a detailed exposition of Hodel's evidence, but rather a focus on the surrealist connections on which Hodel focuses in his own book. I wouldn't start with this book, but would definitely recommend it if you were intrigued by Hodel's book.
  • Linnea
    Interesting take on a well-known murder. While the authors' backs might be sore from reaching so far at times, it was an enjoyable read and I learned more about the Surrealism movement.
  • LibraryCin
    Exquisite Corpse: Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murder / Mark Nelson and Sarah Hudson Bayliss3 starsThe “Black Dahlia” murder was the murder of 22-year old Elizabeth Short in LA in 1947. She was found with her body cut in half. The murder has never been solved, but George Hodel was one of the suspects at the time. This book illustrates the similarities between Elizabeth Short’s murdered body and surrealist art. Hodel was apparently connec...
  • Ashlea
    'Exquisite Corpse' reads as much as an art history book as it does a whodunit, which is fitting coming from authors who hail from fine art backgrounds. Hence, it also makes for a great lesson for us Surrealism fans who thought they knew about the writers, painters, and sculptors they admired. Although careful not to point fingers towards any one artist, Nelson and Bayliss weave a convincing story that interconnects murder suspect George Hodel to ...
  • Nancy
    This is an interesting concept for a true-crime / art history book. The author uses another author's premise (Steve Hodel) that his own father (George Hodel) was the murderer of Elizabeth Smart and Nelson takes the ball and runs with it. What results is equal parts true crime and art history. Nelson examines the surrealist art movement in America in the 1940's-1950's and how the artists and their art might have inspired the murderer to do what he...
  • CD
    This was truly an impulse purchase. I've re-read the book since my first run through and still found it a worthy endeavor.Putting it down until it was finished the first time didn’t seem like much of an option. Crime story meets lurid noir journalism meets esoteric art history of a period that combines to a guilty pleasure worth more than most attempts at this genre.Having read also Steve Hodel’s “Black Dahlia Avenger” prior to this book ...
  • Iris
    I admit it. I haven't read all of this book. . But I plan to. I also admit, I should stop feeding my darker impulses, and the darker impulses of society, particularly those that glamorize violence against women. This book draws a parallel that law enforcement tried and failed to: the Black Dahlia killer could have, and likely was, making an "artistic" statement, drawing on surrealist and modernist works that came before. Complete with full-color...
  • Ckbiffster
    since both surrealism & bizarre, gruesome crimes are things i find fascinating, this was a perfect read for me. while the premise is entirely speculative and the evidence circumstantial, the authors do make a pretty convincing case. i always enjoy reading about the surrelist artists of the mid-20th centuruy, & this book added a new & different twist to their adventures and connections. lots of great illustrations, tho some may find the extensive ...
  • A
    This book relates the murder of Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia, to George Hodel, a physician and self-styled artist, who knew many of the surrealists who came through Los Angeles. It compares crime scene photographs of the murder to work that the surrealists were doing around the time. Artists like Man Ray, William Copley and Marcel Duchamp are examined at length, and particularly Duchamp's work, Étant Donnés and the placement of the figure ...
  • Kathy Lynch
    Fascinating and well-researched. I admit picking it up on a whim. I've read Steve Hodel's Black Dahlia Avenger and at the time, I was pretty dismissive of his theory. I read this book thinking it would be another one full of wild speculations, but not much fact. After having read this book, I'm still not CONVINCED it was George Hodel who murdered Elizabeth Short, but it sure seems that way. If not Hodel, then definitely someone who knew Man Ray a...
  • Eric
    Nelson's addendum to "Black Dahlia Avenger" is part-true crime, part-art historical tour of surrealist iconography, and part expose on an epic crime that has left deep marks in Angeleno popular culture. The author unearths the surrealist tropes the killer(s) etched into the body of Elizabeth Short as signatures, and reveals them as likely clues to the identity of the still-undiscovered murderer in a tale that touches on, possibly implicates, LA's...
  • Ruby
    I've been fascinated by the Elizabeth Short/Black Dahlia case for years after seeing it on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. So, of course, when I saw this book, I couldn't pass it up. I'm glad I didn't! While I didn't agree with all the connections being offered, I could honestly see where many of the connections were being made between the murder and surrealism. While the reading got stale here and there, I think anyone interested in this case ...
  • Wils Cain
    This is a very interesting approach to the Black Dahlia Murder - one of the most famous unsolved murders in LA history. Nelson's perspective is that the murderer posed Elizabeth Short's (the Black Dahlia) corpse to mimic Surrealist paintings and photography, and that the murderer may well have been in the surrealist artistic circle. Fascinating. And gruesome crime scene photos that made for interesting reading on public transportation.
  • Constance
    Haunting crime scene photos, dramatic reproductions of period art, and detailed first hand account comprise this disturbingly beautiful coffee table book that theorizes a connection between surrealistic art and the grisly murder of Elizabeth "Betty" Short, "The Black Dahlia." The evidence the authors site is compelling and thought provoking. You will see the case a different way, once you've given this a read.
  • Wes Young
    Anyone with a passing interest in Surrealist art or criminal psychology (more former than latter) should be infinately fascinated by this book. And while the murder itself was never solved, several assumed theories are likely, Nelson chooses the most likely and creates a convincing argument for its truth. And I learned a lot about some artists I was previously unaware.
  • Eddy Barrows
    This is oddly, sort of, kind of a rehashing of Steve Hodel's "Black Dahlia Avenger." I enjoyed reading about the art and the possibility of a connection between art and the crime, but I was disappointed in the overall conclusions. It seems like the material was covered in the Hodel book. Just my thoughts.
  • Burninghouse
    I will summarize the argument put forth in this book:1. Elizabeth Short was cut in half and sliced in odd places. Surrealists often showed the female form bisected or carved.2. One guy thinks that his dad was the murderer. His dad was acquaintances with some surrealists. Eh? EH?One thing is for certain, though: the surrealists were dicks, and LA was FUCKED UP in the 40s.
  • The Dark Krystal
    I've thumbed through this at my local Borders and thought it was awesome. Clearly the most brutal crime in the history of America (really the most publicized) was inspired by the surrealist art of the time.I've borrowed it from the library at present and haven't had a chance to look at it yet. It's guaranteed to get me red flagged.
  • Matt Evans
    WARNING: there are very shocking photos in this novel. This book sets out to show the connections between Surrealist Art (a movement that flourished in the decades between world wars) and the Black Dahlia Murder. And show the connections it does. Very well. This reader's convinced.
  • The Literary Chick
    A compelling comparison that posits that the murder of the Black Dahlia was the culmination of the surrealistic game Exquisite Corpse as well as an embodiment of certain ideas and art of the surrealistic movement. Seems to pin the murder on one Dr. Georg Hodel, a physician who was active in the movement.
  • Jessica
    This book blew me away! It showed the profound connections between surrealist art and the black dahlia murder (before and after). Its crazy! I read this in 2 days. Recommended to anyone who is interested in art and true crime stories. Pretty gruesome photos, so beware.