Michigan artist Martin Vargas was imprisoned for 45 years for a crime he committed as a minor, with two other teenagers. The artwork he created while incarcerated and since his return home ranges from photorealistic images of people, places, and animals, to his own unique, signature creation of human-like figures titled, “Pudgies,” who embody universal experiences of life.
Because UMMA has temporarily closed our doors to help with the efforts to combat the novel coronavirus by supporting social distancing efforts, we are creating a new space, online, to reflect on current events surrounding the pandemic and the role of medicine in our lives.
Medicine @ the Museum will pull objects from our collection to explore current events and themes related to COVID-19 and examine the history of medicine and the ways we comfort, protect, and repair ourselves.
About the Author
Amanda Respess is a PhD candidate in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan, where she is also completing a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies. Her dissertation uses shipwreck artifacts from the premodern Maritime Silk Road to explore the global history of medicine. Amanda was a Rackham Public Engagement Fellow at UMMA and is currently a Curatorial Research Center Assistant and Art Handler.
Author Image: Vinod Menon
Objects in cover image (left to right)
Buky Schwartz, "Relax", 1971-72, pills and paint on canvas, Gift in honor of Dr. E. Bryce and Harriet Alpern, by their children, 2012/1.222
Unkown, "Inro (four-case medicine box), ojime, and netsuke of Hanshan?", 19th century, lacquer on wood with ivory ojime and netsuke, Transfer from the College of Architecture and Design, 1972/2.103
Harrison Fisher, "Untitled, Red Cross", 1918, color lithograph on paper, Gift of Mr. Maurice F. Lyons, 1954/2.35.35A
Robert Thom, "Laennec and the Stethoscope, from 'The History of Medicine'", ca. 1952, oil on canvas, From the collection of the University of Michigan Health System, Gift of Pfizer Inc., UMHS.24