News and Features

The Art of Medicine

Gail Sachson owns Ask Me About Art, is vice-chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission and frequent contributor of art-related cover stories to the Dallas Medical Journal. Her more recent article  was in December, 2008, titled “How Did King Tut Die?” She conceived and curated “The Art of Medicine” exhibit at Mockingbird Towers.

It’s after office hours. Do you know where your doctor is? He or she might be making rounds, delivering a baby, on the golf course, in an art museum … or actually making art. Yes – those usually pragmatic, mathematical beings, so good with a scalpel, are also good with a brush and a camera.

March is Doctor Appreciation month, and in celebrating doctors, and especially doctors who are also arts enthusiasts, Spire Realty Group has mounted an exhibit, “The Art of Medicine,” in the lobby of Mockingbird Towers, one of the office buildings servicing the medical industry.

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Dr. Mark Fleschler's photo graces the November 2006 cover.

The exhibit was inspired by the covers of The Dallas Medical Journal, a publication of The Dallas County Medical Society, which for the past 15 years has reproduced artwork by member physicians on the covers of the monthly journal. Nineteen of those covers now grace the lobby of Mockingbird Towers. Each is eye-catching, crowd pleasing and personal. From birds to bees, to lakes to Lance Armstrong, the photographs and watercolors paint a fuller, more intimate picture of our doctors.

The personal quotes by the doctors give undeniable evidence of the relationship between the choices made by their medical minds and their artistic souls. Dr. Mark Fleschler, a busy internal medicine specialist, whose November 2006 cover photo, Fall Foliage, is on display, says, ” Photography is a way for me to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday work. I escape through my lens. I love to take time to wander with my camera, and I like this scene especially because it is quiet, crisp and calm.”

Cardiologist Dr. Rolando Solis, a nature photographer, says, “In my line of work as an interventional cardiologist, visual and manual disciplines are required. Photography has allowed me to experience both. In addition, my love of nature and its attendant beauty is fulfilled.”

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Dr. Rolando Solis shot the August 2007 cover.

Radiologist Dr. Paul Ellenbogen  says of Window Planter, a photograph taken in Prague: “As a radiologist, I consider myself a photographer of human anatomy and pathology. I have been taking photos of windows and doors throughout the world for over 15 years. I love the beauty and mystery, and I like to imagine what lies beyond.”

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jerold Lancourt respects the fragility of our bodies in the operating room. In the world of nature he watches and marvels at the fragility of  the smallest insects – moths, flies, bees and butterflies. Of his Bee on a Flower Patch, the May 2008 cover, he says: “On this bee, note the pollen on his leg and his tongue hanging out, as he’s coming in for a landing. My medical training as an orthopedic surgeon has taught me to examine things closely and constantly improve my powers of observation.”

The positive relationship of art and medicine has not gone unnoticed. Medical schools at Harvard, Yale and Cornell are now offering courses in art appreciation, for it has been shown that discussing art works and looking carefully at art lines and colors increases the accuracy of observation when examining patients. And in addition, art is just plain good for the eyes.