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Past Exhibitions: Previous

Seeing is Healing?
The Visual Arts of Medicine

Through December 3, 2000
Box Gallery and Apse

The history of the relationship between medicine and its visual components and the way in which cultural values shape the reading of medical images, is the subject of this intriguing exhibition organized to coincide with the sesquicentennial of the University of Michigan Medical School. UM Professors Patricia Simons and Jonathan Metzl have assembled and interpreted an array of art and artifacts that challenge the neat divisions between science and art. Also explored are the ways in which gender and class issues and changing notions of decorum have influenced the practice of compiling medical information through direct observation. In the Apse, paintings commissioned by Parke, Davis and Company from 1949 to 1964 (on loan from Pfizer Inc) document key events in the history of pharmacy and medicine. These paintings, widely copied and circulated among medical practitioners during the1950s and 60s, use many of the conventions found in earlier history painting in order to influence public perceptions and attitudes about the medical profession.

Seeing is Healing? The Visual Arts of Medicine has been made possible by generous support from the University of Michigan Medical School on the occasion of its Sesquicentennial anniversary. Additional funding was provided by the Friends of the Museum of Art.


Flap Anatomy
16th century colored woodcut
Taubman Medical Library, University of Michigan