A Picture of Health (2022)
For years, I have been curious about the artwork found in the offices of my doctors and therapists. When I was on Medicaid, following referral after referral for chronic pain, I remember one particularly excruciating three-hour wait, staring at a landscape painting. It was arguably one of the longest times I’ve contemplated a single work of art. Who made it and how was it chosen? What is the role of art while you wait or receive treatment? And what would happen if this artwork returned to—or made its way for the first time to—an art gallery?
A Picture of Health presents artwork borrowed from the offices of twenty-seven healthcare providers in the Philadelphia area. This project stems from an ongoing interest in conceptions of art and its value in non-art settings. In each participating office, I have installed a color field painting in place of the loaned artwork. An aesthetic intervention into these offices, each conspicuously minimalist placeholder draws attention to what’s missing and to the decorative choices of the space. Whereas typical representational artworks serve as portals into another space, these minimalist paintings announce themselves as flat, planar objects—they don’t aim to transport or transcend, instead they just “are,” in the here and now of a waiting room. So, hypothetically,
there is a simultaneous, multi-sited painting exhibition across twenty-seven offices in Philadelphia—a shadow exhibition to the one you see here.
Click here for the full list of participating healthcare providers. Special thanks to Kirby McKenzie and Sue Carroll.
Installation Photos (Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia, PA)