For quite some time, hospitals and medical centers have been incorporating art into their facilities. Art transforms the environment and fosters a life-affirming, restorative and supportive environment that helps the patients, their families, caregivers, students, faculty and the community.
One of the most innovative is the art program initiated in 2014 by the Montefiore University Hospital for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, New York.
The Fine Art Collection
Cut Flowers by Babette Bloch, 2016, Stainless steel
Using laser-cut and water jet-cut stainless steel, Bloch challenges the limitations of metalwork. Her art seems organic and weightless, allowing for her natural themes to shine and reflect their surrounding environment. Through her use of story-telling, Bloch’s works expand on the landscapes that they exist within. The poetic transformation and reinvention of steel brings life to Bloch’s work on a larger than life scale.
The Fine Art Collection has been assembled through acquisitions, commissions, exhibitions, donations of art and other related visual arts programming.
Curated programs are installed in various locations throughout the hospital system. Whether it’s a lobby, an administrative office, or patient areas, there is great care to select appropriate artwork for each space.
The program is conttinually adding to the collection as well as arworks for the ARTViews Galleries. For Artists: Montefiore is seeking to purchase original artwork for key public locations at multiple medical center locations. This call is open to all artists working and/or residing in the Bronx as well as the tri-state area (NY/NJ/CT).
The Art Program is also seeking seeking artwork for the ARTViews Gallery, and the Gallery in the Gardens, which are rotating exhibition spaces. The spaces exhibit original artwork and is open to all artists living and/or working in the Bronx. The goal of the rotating exhibition program is to enrich the lives of the patients, caregivers, associates, students, faculty and the community’s understanding of contemporary art in a medical center context. See the website for more information on applying.
Innovation Lab Programs and New Experiences for Patients
In addition to these more traditional aspects of the art program of collecting and exhibitions, the Montetfiore is exploring new ways of working with artists.
The truly innovative art programs that have been initiated at the Montfieore Medical Center are developments in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
As Montefiore continues to advance state-of-the-art healthcare, the Fine Art Program brings patients the newest in digital technology to distract, minimize pain, and showcase contemporary art in a way never done before in a hospital setting.
The Augmented Reality Collection
Augmented Reality or AR, is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.
Working with fine artists across the country, the AR Collection purchases and commissions artworks that exist only in AR. These pieces become a collection within a collection as patients can use their mobile devices to find a whole new world of art during their hospital experience.
The Virtual Reality Fine Art Program and Collection
The first of its kind to commission fine artists solely in virtual reality and for the benefit of patients. Working with the latest technology, the program seeks to replace opioids and pain with culturally enriched, site-specific experiences for our patients like never seen before.
Last year, the Montefiore’s Fine Arts Department received the Innovation in Healthcare Award from the annual Corporate Art Awards, sponsored by Luiss Business School in Rome.
The art news coming from Paris during the past month has been filled with descriptions of the new art center that the Galeries Lafayette has opened in the Marais district.
“Anticipations,” as it is called, is meant to cover the broad scope of expectations —from the anticipation of what new work could be created next, to the Fondation Galeries Lafayette’s attempt to anticipate artists’ needs, and even to the larger notion of anticipating the future of the planet. According to Guillaume Houzé, the President of Galeries Lafayette, the combination of retail and art has been part of the retail company since it was founded by his great-grandfather, Theophile Bader, 106 years ago.
“Only creation can consider the movement of an era in its diversity and thus carry us continually to new horizons.” Guillaume Houzé
“We created the Galeries Lafayette Corporate Foundation as a tool for advancing the conversation in our era and participating in the major social debates through the applied and visual arts. Guillaume Houzé
What makes this artcenter different from Paris’s many other foundations is its commitment to showing new work as well as its interdisciplinary focus. When the Galeries Lafayette was founded 120 years ago, it was a time when all the disciplines including design, arts and crafts, and applied art were seen as more fluid. Accordingly, the foundation will be offering the opportunity for designers, artists, performers, and fashion creators to mix disciplines and processes, as part of a general inquiry into the practices of creation — which will lead to a better understanding of contemporary times.
The Fondation d’Entreprise Galeries Lafayette, run by the French retail chain, commissioned Rem Koolhaas to renovate the historical building at 9 rue du Plâtre, that will be headquarters for the foundation’s cultural arm. The Marais building was erected in 1891 by the architect Samuel Mejot de Dammartin.
Not disturbing the exterior of the 19th century structure, Koolhaas and his firm OMA converted its central courtyard into a steel and glass exhibition tower, fitted with a mobile flooring system that offers 875 square meters of flexible exhibition space. The four independently moving platforms can be rearranged in more than forty different configurations depending on the project, and a 350-square-meter production workshop in the basement offers a space for guest artists to conceive and create work.
Lafayette Anticipations plans three or four exhibitions a year, along with conferences and performances. “The public will discover new works by international creators from the fields of contemporary art, design and fashion,” according to Houzé.
Every three years, the foundation plans to invite guest curators from abroad. On the Lafayette Anticipations curatorial team is Charles Aubin, a French curator based in New York who is also involved with Performa; Anna Colin, an independent curator based in the UK; and the Dutch-Moroccan curator Hicham Khalidi.
The foundation’s managing director, François Quintin, previously worked as curator of contemporary art at the Fondation Cartier, and for seven years headed a contemporary art center in the French regions, FRAC de Champagne-Ardenne. He also directed the commercial gallery Xippas for three years.
The inaugural exhibit by artist Lutz Bacher (the US conceptual artist’s first exhibition in France) was conceived specifically for the entire building, highlighting the verticality of the building, exploring the structure’s symbolic elevation, and focusing in particular on the central void constructed by its architect.
The exhibition, “The Silence of the Sea,” is an architectural intervention involving sound, light and transparent films, focused on the surfaces of the building such as window reflections and bare walls. The title references a novel written by a member of the French Resistance during World War II, which was secretly published in German-occupied Paris and is now a major text of French literature. (until April 30),
Space for Visiting Artists
On the lowest level is an experimental production workshop that provides a space for guest artists to work on new projects. The Foundation supplies tools to support their creation, production and dissemination. Artists can apply to use this workshop where works can be fabricated. Acccoding to Houzé “Artists can work here and show them in the building, or show them elsewhere. Between 2013 and 2016, we did a lot of co-production with other institutions such as the Tate in London and the New Museum in New York.”
The Corporate Art Collection
The Lafayette collection, known as the Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin, is not going to be displayed in the Marais space. The Fonds de dotation, which operates as a separate entity, has acquired more than 300 pieces by artists such as Anne Imhof and Wu Tsang.
Illycaffè, the Italian coffee roasting company that specializes in the production of espresso and espresso makers, has been making contributions toward the creation and exhibition of contemporary art, by supporting artists, institutions and international exhibitions, for over 25 years.
One of their most interesting activities has been to transform an everyday object — the coffee cup — into a small work of art, using ceramic cups as the medium. For 25 years, this project has elevated the simple pleasure of drinking an espresso into an experience which involves the senses and the mind.
Over 100 artists have contributed designs, each adorning the white porcelain illy cup introduced by Mattheo Thun in 1992. In 2006, the project expanded to another common, if unexpected medium — illy’s own coffee cans.
The beginning of the Illy Art Collection was in 1992 when Francesco Illy asked a group of artists to express their creativity and over the years, over 100 artists — from well established artists to young talents — have been commissioned to decorate a set of six cups.
25 years later, leading names in contemporary art continue to create designs, Some of the artists that Illy has worked with include Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovic, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jannis Kounellis, Daniel Buren, Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Kosuth, Jan Fabre, Sandro Chia, and James Rosenquist, who created the iconic white brushstroke-on-red square illy logo.
One of the latest commissions is the set by Yoko Ono. “Mended Cups” which consists of six cups that bear gold, shattered and mended crack lines. These are accompanied by six individual saucers with Yoko Ono’s handwriting, naming six catastrophic events that have directly affected her life, and others only indirectly; but have brought death to millions of people.
Each saucer states the date and location of the event and concludes with the words … mended in 2015. The seventh cup in the collection, the “Umbroken Cup”, is untouched with no cracked or mended lines, reflecting peace and hope with Ono’s handwritten words on the saucer, “This cup will never be broken as it will be under your protection. “
2 Yoko Ono cups of 2015, and Sandro Chia cup from 1997
Emilio Pucci Fashion House Collaboration
Another one of the recent commissions was the collaboration with the Florentine fashion house, Emilio Pucci. The new project represented the company’s first partnership with a fashion label. Florence, Rome, Milan, New York, London and Paris: Emilio Pucci’s signature patterns have now been applied to a special collection of decorated coffee cups, featuring 6 “Cities of the World” prints, exclusive, hand drawn prints depicting scenes from global metropolises, including one designed by the Marquis Emilio Pucci in 1957.
The story of Emilio Pucci’s “Cities of the World” prints began in 1957 when the Emilio Pucci penned his Battistero illustration, a drawing showing Florence’s Piazza Santa Maria del Fiore shot with bright flashes of vibrant lemon yellow tangerine orange, “Emilio” pink and deep fuchsia. Originally produced for his chic silk scarves, the print was conceived as a portable postcard; a love letter to the Marquise’s hometown and a souvenir his clients could carry and treasure when they returned home. Roughly sketched and brightly colored, the original artwork embodies Pucci’s signature, well-known style and became the blue print for the other cities which were subsequently hand-drawn by the atelier of the Maison.
Each print replicates the architecture, landscape and charming details of its tribute city in a stylized way. Rome’s historic Spanish Steps and Coliseum, Paris’ famed Eiffel Tower, Milan’s soaring Duomo, London’s whizzing city streets and New York’s sky scrapers, are all interpreted in a uniquely Pucci way. Each city has been assigned two original color schematics from the Emilio Pucci palette, which are divided between the espresso and cappuccino cups, as well as the brightly patterned saucers.
two Emilio Pucci cups, 2016, and one Maurizio Galinberti cup
Cups by Robert Rauschenberg, 1998 and James Rosenquist, 1996
Other Art Projects:
At the Magazzini del Sale in Venice, Robert Wilson has designed an installation: “the dish ran away with the spoon everything you can think of is true”. The installation was inspired by the collections of coffee cups, in which images, lights and sounds mark a pathway which winds its way through various landscapes inhabited by objects and sculptures. The illy Art Collection cups live in this theatre-like landscape which Robert Wilson has composed through contrast and juxtaposition, creating a rhythm of audiovisual images and experiences.
In 1997 and in the editions of 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 illycaffe has been partner in Italy of the Venice Biennial of Visual Arts, where it sponsored projects and built spots to take a break and to put the visual suggestions in order. Some of these projects included:
In 1997 the sculpture “Valentine Perfume”, an aluminium statue of seven meters, positioned at the entrance of the Biennial, and made by Claes Oldenburg, and his wife Coosje van Bruggen.
In 2007, illymind evolved into Push Button House, a work of art designed by the American artist and architect Adam Kalkin: a compact container that changed by simply pressing a button and opened as a flower in a viable and perfectly furnished space.
In 2011, “Ascension”, a site specific installation of Anish Kapoor, marked by a whirling white smoke inside the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore.
Some of the other art initiatives have included:
Opening temporary spaces – the Galleria illy — that offer visitors a program of art, literature, and science; events with international names in design and haute cuisine. Galleria illy has been already opened in New York, Milan, Trieste, Berlin, Istanbul, London and Beijing
Launched in 2007, the illy SustainArt project offers artists of the emerging countries chances to be more visible. The core of the project is the Website www.illysustainArt.org, a showcase open to the contemporary art world, which acts as a reference point, a meeting place, a cultural exchange occasion for artists and curators coming from emerging countries. In this place they have the chance to show their works to major figures in a global contemporary art panorama: Meskerem Assegued, Carlo Bach, Carlos Basualdo, Suman Gopinath, Gerardo Mosquera, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mariangela Mendez Prencke, and Angela Vettese.
The IllySustainArt Prize goes in this same direction: the company awards it to an artist and a curator registered at the Website www.illysustainArt.org and to emerging talents selected on the occasion of significant international events, among which Arco Madrid, SP-Arte Sao Paulo, and Art Rotterdam.
Salgado: “Scent of a Dream” — A Journey in the Coffee World
In photography, Illy has maintained an ongoing collaboration with the well-known photographer Sebastião Salgado, who was commissioned to chronicle the origins and people in the world of coffee — bringing to life through black and white images, the multi-nation story of sustainability.
Started in 2002, when Sebastião Salgado and illy met, Scent of a dream is a photographic journey through coffee growing countries. The project is based on a shared common value: sustainable development.
The series, “Scent of a Dream”, was constructed, shot by shot, in ten of the countries from which illy buys coffee: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Colombia, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Tanzania. The black and white photographs celebrate the daily lives of those on the plantations, and the beauty of the regionsr from which the coffee bean is grown and harvested.
With the collaboration of Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation “Scent of a Dream” was exhibited at the Foundation’s gallery in Piazza San Marco in Venice. The exhibition consisted of 75 images from the photographic journey. The exhibition had an extensive tour in 2015 that included the Coffee Cluster curated by illy inside Expo 2015 Milan.
A book was published in conjunction with the exhibition, Scent of a Dream, with images selected by Lélia Wanick Salgado, with texts by Andrea Illy, Luis Sepulveda, Angela Vettese and Sebastião Salgado.
Salgado was born in 1944 in Minas Gerais, one of Brazil’s major coffee growing regions, he found work as an economist for the International Coffee Organization. But photography went from avocation to calling, and in 1973, Salgado started a career in images by documenting the lives of poor, migrant workers in Latin America and Africa.
Additional information about Illy’s art programs can be found at https://www.illy.com/en-us/company/art/illy-contemporary-art and https://www.illy.com/en-us/company/art/illy-art-collection_all-the-cups