I was happy for the chance to make it down to the Baltimore Museum of Art to see the Joan Mitchell exhibit, and Guarding the Art (curated by BMA museum guards). It was something in the bookstore, though, that was the zinger of the visit. Leafing through Posters for Change: Tear, Paste, Protest, a Princeton Architectural Press title from 2018 brought me to Valerie Joly Chock's design for the poster "Not a Luxury." This is what good visual design can do. Here, the right words and the right image speak a truth which has only increased since the publication of the book. Posters for Change gathers 50 posters responding to social and political issues. They can be torn out from the binding.
In the description, Joly Chock says her poster's healthcare focus "...uses patterns similar to those of luxurious brands to convey how expensive some medications are. The poster communicates that medicine should not be a luxury to which only the wealthy have access." Amen to that. See more of her work here.
The New York Times Editorial Board presented a constructive editorial in the April 16, 2022 issue. I appreciate the accompanying illustration, too. "Save America's Patent System" outlines how the system could function better if we enforce existing standards, improve the process for challenging bad patents, eliminate potential conflicts of interest, collaborate with other agencies and let the public participate. "And for all the hand-wringing over how to lower prescription drug costs in recent years, little has been said about the patent system or its many failings. Put simply: The United States Patent and Trademark Office is in dire need of reform."
"Wolves in Sheep's Clothing - Big Pharma Lobbyists" appears in the Spring, 2022 issue of The Northern Virginia Review. Last year was a record-breaking one for industry spending on lobbying. View the full issue of the journal below. I recommend Elisabeth Rosenthal's article "Public Opinion Is Unified on Lowering Drug Prices. Why Are Leaders Settling for Less?" from Kaiser Health News for a useful description of the topic.
Of all the Beverly Fishman exhibits (and there have been tons of them) the one I most wish I could have seen is the 2010 installation at David Richard Contemporary when the gallery was still open. The implications of the collected pieces in this corner make it a work that would be interesting to revisit each year and think about the role of the pharmaceutical industry. How has the role of the industry changed? How has it not changed? See the pills/reliefs page on Fishman's site.
We have lost an extraordinary public health advocate and mentor. I recommend this podcast with author John Green to get a sense of Paul Farmer's contribution. His attitude in all circumstances is one we can strive for. I especially appreciate his refusal to give in to despair. The tribut featuring John Green appears on the Please, go on series with James Hohmann from The Washington Post.
Visit Partners in Health. Listen to the podcast here.
How lovely is this tea tin? Elizabeth Pfiester, Founder & Executive Director of T1International, a non-profit advocating for access to insulin and supplies for diabetics, is marking her 30-year "diaversary" with a fundraiser. Learn more here. A box of tea costs about $13. A single vial of insulin carries a list price of $300. Want to participate in this March campaign? Take a picture of your cup or box of tea and post it, sharing the cost of tea compared to the cost of a vial of insulin where you live. Hashtags are #Tea1Internatioal #SpillTheTea, and #insulin4all! You can also check out Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders. That's the famous photo of Best and Banting and one of the dogs that led to the discovery of insulin a century ago.
Access to medicines and access to healthcare is alluded to brilliantly in “US Healthcare,” one of the pieces in Davis's current exhibit Reality Check: The Work of Anna U Davis at IA&A at Hillyer in Washington, D.C. It runs from January 8 to February 27, 2022. This piece is from 2009 (Acrylic, ink pen and cut paper collage on canvas, 32" x 32"). The artist grew up in Lund, Sweden and now lives in the United States. Her multi-media works zero in on social inequalities. Visit annaudavis.com to learn more. IA&A at Hillyer is located at 9 Hillyer Court, NW in Washington, D.C.
The 2022 Illustrated Accordion Exhibit opens at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center on February 4 and closes on March 25. This annual open show always serves up a fun variety of craftsmanship, concepts and materials. The exhibit is both on-site and virtual. In Kalamazoo, Michigan visit the Center at 326 W. Kalamazoo Avenue or visit the website here. My piece this year is a tiny reminder about the issue of drug pricing in acetate, thread, laser print and currency. "Drug Pricing Transparency - An American Need" is in Gallery 2.
Here's an image worth a thousand words and implications. I first saw this sculpture, "Snake Bit" by Mark Allen Henderson in Valentina Di Liscia's Hyperallergic article "PAIN Activists Say They Were Followed by Sackler-hired Investigators." See the sculpture alone, with no text or context, and it is a reminder of many things the pharmaceutical industry embodies. It's a brilliant little piece that I will resist saying too much about. Who needs words, here?
Visit www.markallenhenderson.com to learn more of the artist's two- and three-dimensional work.
Jill Stanton is an artist and muralist living in Edmonton, Alberta. Her piece for Amplifier, "Let's Complete the Puzzle," is a strong, joyful reminder of our interconnectedness and our responsibility for each other. Get the vaccine. Seriously. Get the vaccine.
An arts blog advocating for access to essential medicines