Category Archives: art

Jason Bruges Nature Trail installation for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital

London based lighting designer Jason Bruges created the above interactive installation, made with over 72,000 LED lights embedded in a custom printed hospital-grade wallpaper, for a 165 ft long corridor leading to the operating rooms at the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

From Bruges’s website:

“The brief was to design and install a distraction artwork helping to create a calming yet engaging route that culminates in the patient’s arrival at the anesthetic room. Inspiration came from the idea of viewing the patient journey as a ‘Nature Trail’, where the hospital walls become the natural canvas, with digital look out points that reveal the various ‘forest creatures’, including horses, deer, hedgehogs, birds and frogs, to the passerby…. The LED panels are embedded into the wall surface at various heights in order to be accessible to the eye levels and positions of patients traveling along the corridors. Across these digital surfaces abstracted ‘animal movements’ are recreated as interactive animated patterns of light which reveal themselves through the trees & foliage of the forest.”

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Sol LeWitt at Einstein Medical Center

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ImageImageImagePhotographs via Newsworks

One of Sol LeWitt’s iconic wall drawings (#972) is on a 25 year long-term loan installed in a prominent corridor between the two main entrances of of the Einstein Medical Center in Montgomery, Pennsylvania. Einstein HealthCare Network President and Chief Executive Officer Barry R. Freedman was inspired after seeing a similar larger-scale loan at MASSMoCA, and connected to the LeWitt estate via a former patient and well-known modern art collector.  The 154 foot long wall drawing opened last fall after 27 days of installation by four local artists and two artist representatives from the LeWitt estate, executing the instructions left by the artist. The hospital’s own funds were off-limits to fund the piece, so its presence is thanks to a donation from the LeWitt estate. The particular piece was selected by Anthony Sansotta, the artistic director of the estate. Freedman touts the “Bright. Uplifting, cheerful” nature of the piece and notes that it’s display in a public space allows access to a caliber of well-regarded art by major artists not generally seen in suburban healthcare facilities…per the hospital’s press release:

Hosting a piece of art by the father of Conceptual art is consistent with how we’re working to transform healthcare in the region,” says Freedman. “It also represents our outreach to the community — this is a famous work that is now accessible to anyone.”

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WRL: Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Expansion

Minimalists will take get great joy from this post about the Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital‘s expansion and renovation by architecture firm Westlake Reed Leskosky. The hospital, located in Ohio, has about 500 beds, with 72 of them located in the newly built tower, which includes two dozen NICU rooms, as well as general inpatient beds. Healthcare Building Ideas writer  Jennifer Kovacs Silvis recently took a tour of the facility and noted:

Looking more like an art museum than a traditional healthcare setting, yesterday I saw firsthand how white walls, floors, ceilings, and, yes, even furniture, create an environment that goes against what many support as the proven best methods of healthcare design. What I found on our tours were very minimalistic interiors complemented by a standout art program that showcases commissioned works right alongside prints of infamous classics… And it’s silent. From sound-absorbing ceiling panels to offset the hard surface floors to systems running without any noticeable buzz, patients and staff alike are left with a soothing environment absent of distraction, a place where they can focus and be reflective on the medical situations at hand. Reed jokingly called it “un-architecture”—the firm’s simplification of the building design. But it’s really quite the opposite.

From the looks of these images, she’s spot-on. It’s an unusually simple space, with crispy simple art and tons of white, but it’s a breath of fresh air when viewed next to bright and busy linoleum floors and pattered upholstery. As for that art, the most noteworthy commission was for Catherine Opie’s series of photographic large-format photographs of Lake Erie in four seasons. The moody and luminous series was created specifically for the 100-foot concourse of the new tower. It’s a far cry from Opie’s political, challenging gender focused work she’s best known for – but it’s an excellent example of how an artist you’d never imagine including in a healthcare environment can create the perfect piece for one. There’s a nice review of the series here at cleveland.com, and in an article from the Cleveland News-Helard, Opie says:

“For those from the area, this serves as a reminder of all that exists just outside the walls of Hillcrest Hospital — the entire world’s potential and natural beauty”

+Culture Shot Manchester

It’s always exciting to see mainstream, national media picking up stories about art and healthcare environments. Last week The Guardian profiled Culture Shots, a week long art and culture initiative at the Central Manchester NHS trust, aimed at healthcare professionals working within the trust. The museum led drop-in events, which took place at all five hospital sites in Manchester, were planned to fit around a busy working day and lasted between just one minute and thirty minutes. According to the Guardian, it’s the first time in the UK that a trust hosted a museums and galleries week within a hospital setting. Here’s the premise, taken straight from the Culture Shots website:

Cultural experiences can help improve health and wellbeing, and can result in benefits that range from the physiological to the emotional. From reduced heart rates and requests for analgesia, to a reduction in the sense of loneliness felt by those suffering from mental ill-health, cultural experiences have been proven to help improve the lives of patients and those who care for them. Cultural experiences have even been linked to longer life expectancy. Culture Shots, your chance to find out why culture works, and how you can use the expertise within Manchester’s museums and galleries to improve your professional practice, and your patients’ health and wellbeing. We think culture matters, and hope that by the end of the Museums and Galleries Week, you will too.

Mini-sessions included “Music in healthcare” “How can museum artifacts help patients” “People patients and portraits” “Artmed”  and plenty of guided tours of the hospital art collections. It’s a great way to get disparate stakeholders including clinicians, administrators, curators, and artists engaging with one another in an a way that’s both enjoyable and informative.

Manchester is a hotbed of arts, health, and culture work. I feel privileged to have completed my MA thesis research within the trust there at LIME arts (an organization also involved in organizing Culture Shots).  For more information about arts and health in Manchester, check out the MMU Arts and Health website.

Jim Hodges

I’ve just come across images of an incredible Jim Hodges show that was at the Gladstone Gallery in New York earlier this winter. Both the half shimmering/half rough hewn boulders and the scratched negative photographs of nature would be marvelous in a healthcare environment. A reference to nature doesn’t get much more literal or approachable than a giant rock or a photograph of a pretty sunset – but Hodges takes the grit of the rock and embellishes it beautiful with a jewel toned mirrored coating on one half, and takes the simple beauty of a sunset and roughs it up by scratching the negative. The result is soothing but engaging, precisely as the best healthcare art is. Here’s a snippet of the press release for the exhibit:

Hodges’ practice resists the definitional aims of discourse, instead offering multilayered works that evoke resonant themes such as identity, loss, mortality, and love. In this two-part exhibition, Hodges presents several new large-scale sculptural works that investigate notions of time, movement, color, and reflection… Merging the real with the imagined, a monumental grouping of sculptures seamlessly juxtaposes dense organic forms with interventions of synthetic beauty.

Cara Phillips: Singular Beauty

Brooklyn photographer Cara Phillips has embarked on a project to document clinical plastic surgery spaces. The resulting images are stark, clinical, and infused with a subtle sociocultural agenda, quietly commenting on the nature of elective aesthetic procedures. Together they will be published in a book, titled “Singular Beauty.” Publication has been successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and backers will receive either a PDF or a hard copy of the photo essay. Michael Paris Mazzeo, of Michael Mazzeo Projects explains:

Beauty stalks us with a condescending eye. From television screens to magazines, shop windows to billboards, there is hardly a face or figure that hasn’t been trimmed, polished, and reinvented to beleaguer us with an increasingly unattainable paradigm of physical beauty. In her savvy, new monograph, Cara Phillips explores the reassuring environments and ominous implements of cosmetic surgery. Singular Beauty provides us with a voyeuristic view into the pristine temples of physical transformation while offering an insightful critique of our culture of narcissism.

This is the first example I’ve come across of a contemporary artist pointedly engaging the latent connections between the built environment of healthcare and the societies that construct and occupy these spaces.


David Wiseman/ Shepard Fairy West Hollywood Library

Los Angeles designer David Wiseman was commissioned to create these gorgeous trees for a new branch of the LA public library. Can you imagine how beautiful a Wiseman installation would be in a medical center atrium? I am clearly drawn to white trees in public art settings that require graceful, thoughtful, meditative works. Fastcodesign explains:

Platanus bibliotechalis features stark white tree trunks that climb some 60 feet up and around the library’s soaring interior stairwell. Cast in porcelain from sycamore bark, they represent a made-up species inspired by L.A.’s indigenous sycamores, some of which grow in a nearby park.

The trees are designed to usher the outdoors ins–to, as the press release says, create “a link between the park… and the library itself.”

Wiseman was  recently commissioned by John Galliano to create site-specific installations in Dior flagship stores worldwide, so it’s not a surprise that the installation has a decidedly high-end feel to it. The library also features murals by heavy hitters Shepard Fairey, Retna, and Kenny Scharf, and is a stunning example of a public building effectively using high profile art to add some much needed humanity to an intimidating and often bland typology.

(via fastcodesign)