Will Count towards the SAS - Art History Major and Minor
This seminar would build upon the lecture course I've taught for the past several years on 'Art and Medicine' (formerly called 'The Art of the Body'), which attracts a large number of science students, and draw upon my ongoing research on the medical portrait.
We will consider analogue and digital photography, video, film and new media by artists—from the mid-19th century to the present—whose work depends upon medical technology, allusions to themes of illness—of mind and body, or their own personal encounters with medicine. We will also study the photographic culture of medicine, which often relies upon subtly artful imagery to convey messages on everything from the rewards of plastic surgery to the dangers of sex.
Examples of the material we will discuss include: 19th century ‘before and after’ photographs of women treated with the notorious ‘rest cure’; portraits of patients that were pasted into the casebooks of an asylum in England; the staged Civil War photographs of Matthew Brady; the intimate pictures of victims of HIV/AIDS made by Nan Goldin; the documentation of new plastic surgery methods developed in the aftermath of World War I; the photographs of artist Jo Spence, who pictured her own harrowing experience with breast cancer; Andres Serrano’s over-scaled color photographs taken in a morgue; Duchenne de Boulogne’s photographs for Charles Darwin’s Expression of the Emotions in Men and Animals; the digital projections of artist Bill Viola; and the Biodigital Human Body in 3D.
SUSAN SIDLAUSKAS teaches the history and theory of modern art in the Art History Department at Rutgers, and regularly offers a lecture course on Art and Medicine. She is the author of a study of interiority: Body, Place and Self in 19th Century Art, and Cézanne’s Other: The Portraits of Hortense, winner of the Dedalus book prize in 2010. Her two new book projects are John Singer Sargent and the Physics of Touch, and The Medical Portrait in Photography and Film. She was a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow.