Ancient Medicine in Los Angeles

While I have had Los Angeles on my mind in general recently, there have been two reasons in particular. First I encountered the luscious catalogue for Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only exhibition at the Wexner Store and secondly I participated in the LACA benefit auction (there is a small connection between the two, which I will discuss in a future post). Thanks to the latter I discovered the wonderful photographs of Kim Schoen that explore ideas of display and, to the former, the work of many different artists, including Martine Syms (who is part of Badlands Unlimited new project to disseminate the computer files of artists – with Paul Chan and Cory Arcangel, as well as Syms). In digging deeper into Schoen’s work and browsing some web-reviews of Made in LA, I came across a curious focus on ancient medicine on display on L.A..

First there was Matt Wardell’s exhibition at Baik Art from the beginning of this year, called EYE-DEE-QUE (Something Like an Asclepeion) in which he creates a shrine of healing based on those devoted in antiquity to the god Asclepius and in which dogs were taught to lick the wounds of sick visitors.

Then, while looking at Kim Schoen’s past work, I encountered one of the photographs in her series The Empty Library that showed a book – in German – about the ancient Greek doctor and thinker Hippocrates and his followers.

I don’t know what substantial connection there is between Los Angeles artists and ancient medicine – perhaps there is none, this is just what happens when I blog every day, following leads and thread as I keep on the look out for topics to post about. At the same time, we are all in need of some care and healing right now – ancient or modern – and that’s a good enough reason for me to bring attention to Schoen and Wardell, Aclepius and Hippocrates.

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