Baneful Medicine

April 02 - May 11, 2018

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The exhibition Baneful Medicine brings together contemporary art that engages issues of the history and ethics around biomedical research. Curated by Andrew Weinstein. Located in The Cooper Union Library.

The bodies of people of color, the poor around the world, the incarcerated and military personnel have a history of being used as tissue for research. In 1946-47 Americans held Nazi doctors to account at the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial and initiated modern bioethics with the mandate of "informed consent" for human research subjects. Nevertheless, the U.S. government-funded Tuskegee syphilis study continued for decades after. Now that researchers pursue genomics toward an unknown future, does bioethics have what it takes to address still different challenges? How will biotechnological developments affect society's laws and norms? How much more conscientious are medical scientists today than they used to be?

There is a related lecture and discussion, April 24 in the Great Hall
Keynote lecture by Sheldon Rubenfeld, MD, FACP, FACE
Panel with the artists moderated by curator Andrew Weinstein

Participating artists include:

Todd Ayoung

Aziz + Cucher

Christine Borland

Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Aurelia Moser, Allison Burtch, Adam Harvey

Susan Erony

Arie A. Galles

Aharon Gluska

Eduardo Kac

Verena Kaminiarz

Vitaly Komar and Anna Halberstadt

Ruth Liberman

Larry Miller

The Baneful Medicine exhibition and catalog have been made possible with generous support from the Center for Medicine After the Holocaust and the Claims Conference.

Located at 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.