ART FOR ONCOLOGISTS
Artist: Jim Riswold
Artist Biography: Jim Riswold
Jim Riswold is a realist, a dreamer, a philosopher and an artist in their truest forms. Riswold’s work in copywriting is well known by Honda enthusiasts and equally matched by sports fans familiar with Nike commercials featuring Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods and other star athletes. After being diagnosed with leukemia in 2000, Riswold left the advertising world to become a full-time contemporary artist, and a successful one at that. His works playfully toy with taboo subjects and infamous political figures, such as Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, among many others. Riswold pushes the boundaries of absurd realism through photography, silkscreen and sculpture. In 2014, Riswold faced cancer head-on in his installation Art for Oncologists, which premiered at the Augen Gallery, in Portland, Oregon. Prized as one of the 100 most influential people in American culture, Riswold's Art for Oncologists highlights the science and the agony of chemotherapy.
It took 13 years to live through and two years to make. During that time, I have learned my fair share about all things oncology.
Imhotep described what is believed to be the first case of cancer, breast cancer in a man, in 2500 BC. As far as a recommended treatment, he offered only the chilling words, “There is none.”
Atossa, the queen of Persia, had the first radical mastectomy in 440 BC. 2,500 years later, this surgery is still being performed.
I now know why I should know the names Yellapragada Subbarao, Sidney Farber, Mary Lasker and Barnett Rosenberg.
The first patented animal was a mouse bred specifically to be susceptible to cancer. His name is OncoMouse and, yes, he has a ® after his name.
I think I know what the “HER-2/neu oncogene, human epidermal growth factor receptor no. 2” means.
Vinblastine was discovered by drinking tea.
5-FU helped save Shaine’s life, Cytoxan helped save Glenn’s life, Herceptin helped saved Hildur’s life and Gleevec flat out saved Aldo’s life.
MOPP is a chemotherapy regimen consisting of Mechlorethamine, Oncovin, Procarbazine and Prednisone. It is also an acronym used by the military meaning Mission Oriented Protective Posture, which is a type of safety gear used by military personnel during a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack.
There was a movie about Herceptin starring Harry Connick Jr. as Dr. Dennis Slamon, the father of Herceptin. I learned crooners turned actors don’t make the best oncologists.
I also came to the conclusion that Gemzar sounds like a sibling of the Great Gazoo from the Flintstones.
I haven’t come across or used so many big-assed words since I wrote philosophy papers about Hegel back in the early 80s.
Can you say (SP-4-2)-diamminedichloroplatinum?
Can you use (SP-4-2)- diamminedichloroplatinum in a sentence?
Seriously, as a survivor of two cancers, working on this show was an emotional experience.
Especially when I made stuff about chemotherapies that saved lives of friends of mine.
Call it enlightened self-interest, but I am fond of having my friends around.
I guess you could call this show a celebration.
Long live oncologists!
Longer live their mice!
Longest live their patients!
And, yes, even long live their language filled with senseless and really long words.
Actually, despite all its (SP-4-2)-diamminedichloroplatinums and Bis-chloroethylnitrosoureas and BEACOPPs, ChlVPPs, DICEs, MAIDs, PEP-Cs, POMPs, TIPs, VAMPs and VIPs, the core of this language can be translated into a single word:
Hope you like Art for Oncologists.
Even more, I hope it gives you a big dose of hope if you or someone you love is dealing with the disease that oncologists were put on this planet to deal with.
Art for Oncologists , inspired by Riswold’s personal journey and experiences as a cancer patient, directly engages with medical disciplines of Oncology, Pharmacology and Pathology. Riswold’s chemo-hearts represent a pharmaceutical journey on the path to recovery. In addition, the script associated with each drug not only educates the audience about a need-to-know distant scientific world of chemotherapy, but also intertwines a ubiquitous human experience of fear, hope and loss as they relate to cancer.
A BIG BOWL OF CHEMOTHERAPIES (AND ONE ZOFRAN)
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