Breathe in the serenity of Roy Lichtenstein's untitled
landscape. Notice his use of blue dots to accentuate the calm of
the water. Imagine pedaling alongside the woman in Alex Katz's
"Bicycle Rider" on a breezy spring day.
Or lose yourself in the explosion of neon pink and yellow in
Andy Warhol's three "Kiku" flower screen prints. The pieces appear
to be illuminated from within by electric light, but are merely
printed on paper.
A collection of works by Lichtenstein, Katz, and Warhol sounds
like a pop art exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Yet, this
show is ready for viewing any day of the week at Dana-Farber in the
Abraham D. Gosman Adult Clinic on Dana 1, thanks to the efforts of
Dana-Farber's Art and Environment Committee. "We believe that art
helps and encourages the healing process for patients and their
families," says chair Jane Mayer of the committee, which is
overseen by the Friends of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The art mentioned above and other colorful creations by well-
and lesser-known artists were secured with a generous gift from
Dana-Farber Trustee Betty Ann Blum as part of the Friends' mission
to enhance the ambiance of patient and staff areas. Additionally, a
large number of pieces were selected as a result of grants from the
Friends and other individuals in memory of loved ones.
The committee, composed of trustees, staff, patient
representatives, and Friends members, labors to raise funds, works
in conjunction with architects to develop space for art at
Dana-Farber, and then selects and places it.
Take the etching on Dana 1 by pop art great Claes Oldenburg.
Entitled "Proposal for a Colossal Monument in Downtown New York
City: Sharpened Pencil Stub with Broken-off Tip of the Woolworth
Building," it is a piece to ponder. The viewer gets a glimpse into
the mind of the artist and can envision the humorous sight of this
giant pencil constructed in the middle of Manhattan.
Pop art by definition elevates the mundane to the unique.
According to Mayer, the theme for Dana 1 is lightheartedness. To
accomplish this, the committee put to use various media – lithographs, silk screens, oil on canvas, watercolors, paint on
wood – choosing pieces that are whimsical in nature and allow the
viewer to contemplate a piece rather than just glance at it.
Works by major pop artists were placed in the main waiting area,
while additional contemporary artworks by other artists – which are
similar in feel to the pop art – hang as a complement in corridors.
A number of poster prints and less expensive photographs round out
the collection and can be found in exam rooms and conference
spaces, bringing the total pieces, including those relocated from
other areas, to 53.
The process of choosing new art takes up to nine months from the
initial plan, budget, and proposal, and involves several rigorous
reviews before pieces are installed. Patient and staff reactions
are then collected one more time to ensure everything is
The Friends have previously enhanced areas on Dana 9, 10, 11, L1
and L2, the first floor vestibule and auditorium in the Jimmy Fund
Building, the Dana 1 main lobby, and the area for magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) on Dana L1.
"We've had a lot of positive comments from patients, family
members, and staff," says Karen Schulte, RN, BSN, OCN, nurse
manager on Dana 1. "I was a staff representative who reviewed
preselected pieces – and all were great choices."
For more information on Dana-Farber artwork or the Art and
Environment Committee, contact the Friends' office at 617-632-3021.
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