The Guardian has an interesting discussion of his work. I thought it was respectful, engaging, and though-provoking. An excerpt:
“…why shouldn't Von Hagens merchandise his corpses? If Damien Hirst can stud a dead man's cranium with diamonds, why shouldn't Von Hagens give us whole cadavers kicking footballs or dancing the tango? Apparently, all Von Hagens' deceased performers gave their permission for his use of their bodies, even the young woman who died with an eight-month foetus in utero.
From the beginning of western civilisation, people have gone to great lengths to recover their dead and give them a decent burial. Soldiers take risks to recover the bodies of their fallen comrades under fire; people bereaved by natural disaster spend weeks and months hunting for their dead. When the body of Antigone's brother Polynices was left on a Greek battlefield, she defied the royal edict to bring it back for honourable burial and was punished with death.”