Ques­tion­ing the pow­ers of medicine’s lit­tle helpers

Artist Terry Maker ex­plores our re­liance on pills

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Ray Mark Ri­naldi

Art ex­hibits can be as much about where they take place as they are about the ob­jects they put out there. A show about race, for ex­am­ple, might play dif­fer­ently in the South than in the North, where the back­sto­ries are dif­fer­ent. Or an ex­hibit of moun­tain land­scapes might seem like a lo­cally pro­duced doc­u­men­tary in Denver but come off as ex­otic es­capism in crowded Man­hat­tan.

Con­text mat­ters, and it is the thing that gives Terry Maker’s “Time Re­lease” its punch at the Fulginiti Pav­il­ion

gallery on the An­schutz Med­i­cal Cam­pus.

In the sur­round­ing build­ings, fu­ture doc­tors, nurses and phar­ma­cists are get­ting their ba­sic train­ing at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado’s med­i­cal schools, learn­ing how — and how much — to treat the thou­sands of pa­tients they will be called upon to heal over their long ca­reers. And in the mid­dle is Maker, sug­gest­ing in a clever and en­ter­tain­ing code that their de­ci­sions are more com­plex than what their text­books teach them.

Specif­i­cally, she ques­tions our re­liance on pre­scrip­tion pills. Maker blows them up hun­dreds of times their ac­tual sizes, turn­ing them into sculp­tures that sit on the floor or on pedestals or are at- tached to the walls. They re­tain the es­sen­tial vis­ual qual­i­ties of the real twopart cap­sules we de­pend upon for relief. They are the col­ors of sweet, su­gar candy and chil­dren’s toys — glossy reds, blues, pinks and pur­ples. In­side, they ap­pear to be filled with tiny par­ti­cles of med­i­cal magic, the chem­i­cals that take away our headaches and mus­cle pain, that reg­u­late our cir­cu­la­tory sys­tems so our hearts pump in rhythm or re-chan­nel our brain con­nec­tions so we don’t get de­pressed, that keep can­cer cells from re­pro­duc­ing or al­low us to have sex when our bod­ies won’t meet the call to ac­tion.

By su­per-siz­ing pills, Maker glo­ri­fies them. They have a larger-thanlife role in our rou­tines, and she points out their abil­i­ties to make out bod­ies bet­ter.

But these pills, of course, are too hard to swal­low, and Act One Pro­duc­tions’ “Stand Still and Look Stupid” Dec. 16-18: New play about Hol­ly­wood leg­end Hedy La­marr. $15. Skylite Sta­tion, 910 Santa Fe Dr., Denver; 303-817-7908 or act-one-pro­duc­tions.com Denver Cen­ter At­trac­tions’ “Ru­dolph the Red-Nosed Rein­deer: The Mu­si­cal” Dec. 16-18: The beloved TV clas­sic come to life on stage. $20-$75. Buell Theatre, DCPA, 14th and Cur­tis streets; 303-893-4100; den­ver­center.org. Em­pire Lyric Play­ers’ “A Gil­bert and Sul­li­van’s Christ­mas Carol” Dec. 16-18: The clas­sic Scrooge tale us­ing Gil­bert and Sul­li­van melodies. $20. School­house The­ater, 19650 E. Main­street, Parker; elps.org Ev­er­green Play­ers’ “Hol­i­day EPIC Show” Dec. 16-17: Comic mash-up of var­i­ous hol­i­day clas­sics. $10-$20. Cen­ter Stage, 27608 Fire­weed Dr., Ev­er­green; 303-674-4934; Ever­green­play­ers.org Rocky Moun­tain Revels’ “The Christ­mas Revels, A Scot­tish Solstice Cel­e­bra­tion” Dec. 16-18: Per­for­mance fea­tur­ing Scot­tish tra­di­tions. $20-$28. Dairy Cen­ter for the Arts, 2590 Wal­nut St., Boul­der; thedairy.org Rocky Moun­tain Reper­tory Theatre’s “Home for the Hol­i­days” Dec. 17-18: RMRT alum­nus re­turn to the the­ater for an an­nual hol­i­day mu­si­cal re­vue. $20-$25. 800 Grand Ave., Grand Lake; 970-627-3421; rock­y­moun­tain­rep.com Denver Cen­ter At­trac­tions’ “Find­ing Nev­er­land” Dec. 20-Jan. 1: Na­tional tour of Broad­way mu­si­cal that tells the story be­hind Peter Pan. $30-$125. Buell Theatre, DCPA, 14th and Cur­tis streets; 303-893-4100; den­ver­center.org Com­piled by Mark Collins, Spe­cial to The Denver Post that in­vites us to look at their lim­its, at is­sues of de­pen­dency and ne­ces­sity. Do we take too many of them be­cause they are an easy fix? Or be­cause drug com­pa­nies, reach­ing for prof­its, dress them up as at­trac­tive so­lu­tions in those end­less TV com­mer­cials?

She goes deeper, rais­ing ques­tions of faith and spir­i­tu­al­ity. How does our be­lief in mod­ern medicine mesh with our be­lief in our­selves, or a higher power? In a so­ci­ety that in­creas­ingly reaches for pills over prayers or pa­tience, does quick-fix medicine re­place or en­hance our con­fi­dence in our own minds to con­nect mean­ing­fully to the uni­verse?

It’s not un­com­mon to see artists ex­plor­ing medicine, or pills in par­tic­u­lar. The well-known, artist­prankster Damien Hirst did it two decades ago, recre­at­ing their shapes and nat­u­ral at­trac­tive­ness and ask­ing us to stand face-to-face with them in a gallery set­ting.

The art col­lab­o­ra­tive known as Phar­ma­copoeia bases its whole body of work around our re­la­tion­ship with medicine, and the Bri­tish Mu­seum has made prom­i­nent its “Cra­dle to

pro­vided by An­schutz Med­i­cal Cam­pus

Terry Maker’s “Cure All,” from 2016, is part of her ex­hibit at the art gallery at the Fulginiti Pav­il­ion on the An­schutz Med­i­cal Cam­pus. Photo by Chris Rogers,

Terry Maker’s 2016 “Time Re­lease” is 5 feet in di­am­e­ter and made from shred­ded pa­per and pre­scrip­tion warn­ings. Ni­cholas DeS­ciose, pro­vided by An­schutz Med­i­cal Cam­pus

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.