What Should Hang on the Walls of a Hospital?

TIIH Scholar Judy Rollins’ research on art in healing spaces was featured in a great article from The New Yorker. “Rollins cites fifteen different “intents” for hospital art, including “art for empathy,” “art for inspiration and hope,” and “art for transcendence.” She argues that on some occasions—such as in cases where artists have chronicled their own illnesses—abstract work, or even art with dark or negative subject matter, can be instructional or enriching. Tools for collecting evidence about art can also be expanded, Rollins writes, thanks to brain-research techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which maps neural activity. “Art is sensitive, so every method of measurement you use should be sensitive, too,” she told me via Zoom.”