Recently, the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) hosted a reception marking the opening of the UND Art Collections “School of Paris” exhibit.
“It’s hard to describe how excited and proud we are to be able to do this,” noted SMHS Dean and UND Interim President Joshua Wynne of the inaugural art reception held at the School for the collection of early 20th century pieces by Paris-based painters Chagall, Matisse, Kandinsky, and Ernst. “The art reminds us and our students that we are not simply studying the disease process but are trying to help people who happen to have a disease. By shifting the focus from the disease process to the patient, we try to emphasize the humanistic aspects of health care.”
Given this “patient-centered learning” curriculum, Dr. Wynne said, it is appropriate that each of the SMHS programs understand the waltz at the heart of providing evidence-based and often highly technical medical care to humans who come to providers every day with their own histories, creative interests, and stories.
Although School of Paris marks the official establishment of the SMHS Art Gallery, located on the second floor of the School, the collection is actually the Gallery’s second major exhibit of world-renowned artists. When it opened in 2016, the SMHS housed a collection of abstract expressionist or “pop” art pieces from the UND collection. For more than three years, the gallery displayed paintings by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg, among other pop artists of the mid-20th century.
The School actually contains more than 100 pieces over the course of its four floors. And now, visitors to the SMHS can take a self-guided tour of the building’s collection. The School’s Office of Alumni & Community Relations recently completed a booklet that leads visitors through the building’s four floors of art and gives them background on the pieces in the building—and the artists behind the art. The booklet is available online and in the kiosk in the SMHS lobby.
More “permanent” installations include pieces by Honoré Daumier, Emily Lunde, Audrey Flack, Peter Kuper, and Walter Piehl, among many others. Many of these pieces revolve around medical or health-related themes, such as Zack Julen’s third-floor piece “Infected,” which resembles bacteria as they might look under a microscope.
Long term, the School hopes to employ students of all backgrounds as curatorial assistants. Through such a work-study role, students of multiple backgrounds could learn about the installation and upkeep of artwork, research and academic writing, and the processes involved with curating exhibitions.