Wrapping Up Our Performing Medicine Festival

By Lisa O’Sullivan, Director, Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health

Thanks to everyone who joined us on Saturday, April 5 for our Performing Medicine Festival, celebrating the intersections of music, dance, and theater with health and medicine.

Dr. Daniel Caplivski, center, and medical musicians from Mount Sinai. Photo: Charles Manley.

Dr. Daniel Caplivski, center, and medical musicians from Mount Sinai. Photo: Charles Manley.

In the morning, medical musicians from Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine demonstrated how chamber music and jazz can improve medical students’ and physicians’ abilities to listen to their patients.

Then, Dr. Richard Kogan, clinical professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and artistic director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program, demonstrated his virtuosity as a pianist and physician. He explored the mental life of Robert Schumann with an extraordinary performance of “Carnaval” and incisive commentary on historical understandings of the connections between madness, creativity, and genius.

Dr. Richard Kogan. Photo: Charles Manley.

Dr. Richard Kogan. Photo: Charles Manley.

The afternoon focused on the patient experience, beginning with Brian Lobel’s humorous and touching performance about his changing responses to his experiences as a cancer patient, cancer survivor, performer, and educator, and featuring his prowess with a hula hoop. Then David Leventhal and Pamela Quinn of Dance for PD® and PD Movement Lab explored how dance can tell stories about health, identity, and illness and help people with Parkinson’s find community, beauty, and movement.

Pamela Quinn and David Leventhal of Dance for PD. Photo: Charles Manley.

Pamela Quinn and David Leventhal of Dance for PD®. Photo: Charles Manley.

The day ended with the performers in discussion with Dr. Danielle Ofri, editor-in-chief of the Bellevue Literary Review, with topics ranging from the connections between physicians and music to questions about how to embed the arts in hospitals.

Throughout the day, behind-the-scenes tours introduced visitors to the work of our book and paper conservators and to collection highlights with a musical theme.

Save the date! On October 18, we will hold our second-annual Festival of Medical History and the Arts, this time in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of anatomist Andreas Vesalius. The day will be another extravaganza of lectures, performances, workshops, and demonstrations exploring art, anatomy, and the body. Keep an eye out for updates and details over the summer.             

View more photographs from the day-long event on our Facebook page.

Welcome to Performing Medicine

Header for Performing Medicine FestivalOur spring 2014 festival, Performing Medicinetakes place tomorrow, April 5, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.at the New York Academy of Medicine. We will explore the interrelationships of medicine, health, and the performing arts at this day-long festival of actors, dancers, doctors, and musicians. Register here through today, April 4, for reduced admission.

Performers will include Dr. Richard Kogan on the mental life of famous composers; Brian Lobel and his comedic adventures as a cancer patient; David Leventhal and Pamela Quinn on dance and Parkinson’s disease with DANCE FOR PD® from Mark Morris Dance Group/Brooklyn Parkinson Group; the medical musicians of Mount Sinai on the art of listening; and musical interludes from Weill Cornell’s Music and Medicine Initiative.

Throughout the day there will be guided behind-the-scenes tours of our Dr.s Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room and Gladys Brooks Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory. Spaces are limited to 20 people per tour; make sure to get your tickets soon!

This is the first of two festivals in 2014 exploring the connections between medicine, health, and the performing and visual arts. In the fall our main festival, Vesalius 500: Art and the Body, will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andreas Vesalius and the impact of his De Humani Corporis Fabrica or The Fabric of the Human Body. Like our 2013 festival, the day will feature multiple strands of programs, performances, workshops and interactive events.

Item of the Month: Jacques Gamelin’s Nouveau recueil d’osteologie et de myologie

By Lisa O’Sullivan, Director, Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health

This is one of several posts leading up to our day-long Performing Medicine Festival on April 5, 2014, which will explore the interrelationships of medicine, health, and the performing arts. Register for the festival here.

Skeleton Musicians from Jacques Gamelin

O Quanto ci deve dare pensiere (O, how it should give us thought). Table 5. Click to enlarge.

The musical skeletons featured in our Performing Medicine design look cheerful enough. However, the text beneath the flautist’s feet, “O Quanto ci deve dare pensiere,” or “O, how it should give us thought,” makes it clear that they are a memento mori, reminding viewers of the inevitability of death. The skeletons come from Jacques Gamelin‘s Nouveau recueil d’osteologie et de myologie (A New Collection of Bones and Muscles, Drawn from Life).

Artists studying anatomy, title page, v.2.

Artists studying anatomy, title page, v.2. Click to enlarge.

The Nouveau recueil d’osteologie et de myologie is an opulent and eccentric work, published in Toulouse in 1779 and paid for with financing from Gamelin’s patron, Baron de Puymaurin, and an inheritance from Gamelin’s father. The volume’s 41 full-page engraved plates and ten etchings are by turns witty and fantastical while maintaining a high level of accuracy and anatomical detail. Jacques Gamelin trained as a painter and engraver and designed the work to be of use to artists as well as anatomy students. The first section of the book is dedicated to bones, the second to muscles, and throughout the book allegorical scenes and tableaux highlight warfare, battles, and death.

Local authorities in Toulouse gave Gamelin access to the corpses of executed criminals, and he produced sketches based on his dissections. He then worked with two engravers, Jacques Lavalée and an artist known only as Martin, to produce prints from these drawings (“Lavalée Inc. 1778” and “Gamelin fec.” (Gamelin fec[it] – or Gamelin made it) are both found on the musical skeleton image). Production of the 200 copies of the volume, which took two years, bankrupted Gamelin, and many copies were subsequently pulped.

Skeleton figure responding to Trumpet call on day of resurrection

Surgite mortui, et venite ad judicium (Arise, ye dead, and come to the judgment). Table 6. Click to enlarge.

Find more information at Gamelin’s Marauding Skeletons and Écorché Crucifixions and Princeton’s Graphic Arts blog. More images from the book can be found on the National Library for Medicine’s Historical Anatomies on the Web.

Announcing Our Performing Medicine Festival

Header for Performing Medicine FestivalJoin us on April 5, 2014 to explore the interrelationships of medicine, health, and the performing arts with a day-long festival of actors, dancers, doctors, and musicians. Register here.

Performers will include Dr. Richard Kogan on the mental life of famous composers; Brian Lobel and his comedic adventures as a cancer patient; David Leventhal and Pamela Quinn on dance and Parkinson’s disease with DANCE FOR PD® from Mark Morris Dance Group/Brooklyn Parkinson Group; the medical musicians of Mount Sinai on the art of listening; with discussions, musical interludes from Weill Cornell’s Music and Medicine Initiative, and more.

Throughout the day there will be guided behind-the-scenes tours of our Coller Rare Book Reading Room and and Gladys Brooks Book & Paper Conservation Laboratory. Spaces are limited to 20 people per tour; make sure to get your tickets early!

This will be the first of two festivals in 2014 exploring the connections between medicine, health, and the performing and visual arts. In the fall our main festival, Vesalius 500: Art and the Body, will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andreas Vesalius and the impact of his De Humani Corporis Fabrica or The Fabric of the Human Body. Like our 2013 Festival, the day will feature multiple strands of programs, performances, workshops and interactive events.