Body Narratives: NYU Medical Library

Body Narratives, an Exhibit by Joyce Cutler-Shaw

Lecture and Opening Reception: March 24

Lecture 3:30pm Smilow Seminar Room

Reception 4:30pm – 7:00pm MSB Gallery*

March 24 to May 6, 2011


“As on an archeological journey into unknown territory, I approach the human body as a mysterious terrain, a phenomenon of the natural world. We are of nature.” –J. Cutler-Shaw

Joyce Cutler-Shaw, in her role as artist-in-residence at the UCSD School of Medicine, has been drawing for many years in the anatomy laboratory. She explores the complex, individual, physical self with pen and brush and ink, just as the medical students dissect with a scalpel. She sees the history of anatomy as the history of human representation—how we are seen and how we see ourselves. It is the trajectory from a medieval, short-lived, astrologically defined physical self to a contemporary virtual, scanned, graphed, and charted one that incites and informs her work. Her multi-layered fine art project, titled The Anatomy Lesson, includes drawings, photo essays, collage, writings, installations, projections, drawing movies, and artists’ books.

All of Cutler-Shaw’s work is rooted in drawing: drawing as a way of seeing, as a mode of inquiry, as an act of empathy. For this exhibition she is presenting selections from a new series of drawings and wall collages, titled Limbs and Trunks, considering body limbs and tree limbs as phenomena of nature. Additionally, she will be showing a group of her series called The Lab Coats. These are standard white laboratory coats, hand drawn with images from the history of anatomy. The gallery’s display cases will contain some of Cutler-Shaw’s new series of artists’ books, conceived as Conversations with old medical texts to which she adds pages of drawings and texts of her own in response.

For more than thirty-five years, Joyce Cutler-Shaw has been exhibiting internationally and installing permanent, ecologically themed commissioned works, such as those at the East Carnegie Library in San Jose, CA, and the Mission Valley Branch Library in San Diego, CA. Her works are represented in both museum and library special collections like The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, and NYU’s Bobst Library.

Date & time:

03/24/2011 – 3:30pm – 7:00pm


MSB Gallery*


NYU Langone Medical Center
550 First Avenue
Medical Science Building, First Floor

*The gallery is located near the library administration offices along the corridor between the Thomas S. Murphy Sr. Conference Room and the Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center.