City of Hope is best known for an abundance of important research programs for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. But its grounds and halls also hold an abundance of works by world-renowned artists.
Anyone can take a self-guided tour of City of Hope’s art world, and the medical center entrance is a good place to start. City of Hope’s iconic bronze sculpture, the Spirit of Life® by Robert I. Russin, rises atop a dramatic fountain at the entranceway. The sculpture’s figures symbolize City of Hope’s belief in the fundamental role of the family in fostering health and well-being.
To the northwest, the Visitor Center showcases the mural “Progress of Life” by Philip Guston and Reuben Kadish. The pair, who met at Otis Art Institute, joined the Works Progress Administration in the early 1930s and were assigned to paint the mural at City of Hope. This mural, depicting social and political issues, was their only collaboration. Shortly thereafter, Guston followed his friend, Jackson Pollock, to New York City, where his art moved from expressive realism to abstract expressionism. Kadish went to San Francisco and continued to paint murals.
Nearby in the sculpture garden stands a collection of pieces by California artists Guy Dill, Chuck Arnoldi, Robert Brady, Michael Todd Robert Brady, Peter Reginato, Seiji Kunishima and Gwynn Murrill.
In the lobby of the Geri & Richard Brawerman Ambulatory Care Center, look for the lithograph by another California artist, Ed Ruscha. The piece depicts a thermometer at six different temperatures. Since 1964, Ruscha has experimented with painting words and phrases, often oddly comic and satirical. When asked about the source of inspiration for his paintings, Ruscha responded, “Well, they just occur to me; sometimes people say them, and I write them down and then I paint them.”
The Brawerman Center’s first floor is also host to a Sam Francis lithograph. The second floor features pieces of art created by children, as well as pieces by artists Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, Jonathan Borofsky, Malcolm Morley and Claes Oldenburg.
And just downstairs, around the corner from the Corner Café, hangs a Robert Rauschenberg lithograph. Considered an American master, Rauschenberg began his career in the late 1940s. He created a signature look by embracing unusual materials, whether it was covering a canvas with house paint or creating a painting using the inked patterns of car tires.
Many medical and research centers stress the importance of art, and institutions as vast as the National Institutes of Health feature galleries with art that both calms patients and challenges researchers. Stress and anxiety are often associated with health-care settings, but art can enhance quality of life and create a healing environment, according to experts.