Encountering Art in Hospitals: A Comparative Analysis of the Forms and Perceived Functions of Commissioned Contemporary Art in Two New Montreal Mega-Hospitals
Principal Investigator: Dr. Tamar Tembeck (McGill University). Co-applicants: Dr. Mary Hunter, Dr. Melissa Park, Dr. David Theodore (McGill University); Dr. Magali Uhl, Dr. Florence Vinit (UQÀM).
Research Assistants: Gina Page and Dr. Marie Lavorel (McGill University)
Project supported by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2016-2019).
Existing studies on art in hospitals tend to focus on accumulating evidence of their beneficial impacts on patients’ recovery and wellbeing. Since the birth of hospitals, however, art has played a variety of other roles, ranging from providing contemplative touchstones for hospital users, to improving the institution’s overall image in the public eye. This study will allow us to gain further insight into the non-therapeutic roles played by contemporary art in hospitals, and set foundations for a broader program of inquiry into hospital art practices worldwide. The study’s primary goals are to: 1) shed light on the material and organizational conditions of the hospital art commissioning process at the CHUM and MUHC; 2) uncover tacit as well as overt expectations relative to the perceived functions of art in these hospital environments; 3) evaluate whether or not these expectations are being met in practice, and identify what other functions potentially emerge from the works as they are experienced by hospital users; 4) situate these hospital art commissions within contemporary art history, both in relation to the history of public art in Canada, and in relation to contemporary hospital art practices worldwide; 5) identify best practices in order to inform future cultural policies supporting art commissions for health care environments.
- [avec M. Lavorel], “De la cité moderne à la cité postnumérique : évolution des fonctions de l’art public en milieu hospitalier ,” panel “Why Public Art? Practices, Strategies and Rivalry in Post-Digital Societies,” Universities Art Association of Canada 2017 conference, (Banff, October 13, 2017)
- Beyond Therapy: Situating Art and Design in Healthcare contexts, panel co-chaired with Dr. Mary Hunter, Association of Art Historians conference, Loughborough, UK, April 6-8 2017
- “Passages: A Conversation on Art and Hospitals” Roundtable, School of Architecture, McGill University, 16 March 2017
- “Between ornament, distraction and appeasement: (mis)conceptions about the roles of art in hospitals,” Film and Visual Culture Seminar Series, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 16 November 2016.
- “Que fait l’art à l’hôpital ?” Table ronde “Arts actuels et soins de santé: un espace partagé,” Galerie de l’UQÀM, 12 septembre 2016.
- “Contemporary Art Practices in Spaces of Health Care: Toward a Nosocomial Aesthetic.” Panel: Contemporary Art in Health Care Environments, Transcultural Exchange conference, Boston University, 25-27 February 2016.
- [with M. Hunter] “From Queen Victoria to Sausage Pants: Making Space for Art at the Royal Victoria Hospital and McGill University Health Centre,” Hospital/Hôpital IHSP-CIRM conference, McCord Museum, Montreal, 1 October 2015.
- “Vers un esthétique nosocomiale: Précédents et perspectives pour les pratiques d’art en milieu de soins,” Colloque Art + Santé, Entretiens Jacques-Cartier, Montréal, 6-7 octobre 2014. VIDEO