Art Can Help Heal You, New World Health Organization Study Says

Iraq pavilion at Venice closes in solidarity with protests; Gus Casely-Hayford to head up V&A East

Damien Hirst, Pharmaceuticals (detail), 2005, colour inkjet print. Courtesy: © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd

Damien Hirst, Pharmaceuticals (detail), 2005, colour inkjet print. Courtesy: © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd

A report from the World Health Organization says that the arts can help improve mental and physical health – and can even be more cost-effective than conventional treatment. The ‘Health Evidence Synthesis’ study, which drew on more than 900 publications looking into the impact of the arts on health, split art’s impact on health into two themes: prevention and promotion, and management and treatment. The report cited the use of music (used to inspire ‘attitudes of independence and self-empowerment’) in helping HIV patients stay on treatment programmes, while art therapy sessions helped patients undergoing cancer treatment reduce side-effects of drowsiness and depression.

Iraq’s national pavilion at the Venice Biennale has closed in an act of ‘solidarity with the popular youth uprisings that have erupted in Iraq against state corruption and deteriorating economic and living conditions’, the Art Newspaper reports. The Baghdad-based nonprofit Ruya Foundation, responsible for commissioning the Iraqi pavilion in Venice since 2013, has called for arts institutions in Iraq to go on strike. Anti-government demonstrations have roiled across Iraq since last month, with protesters calling out corruption – and have been met with a violent crackdown. The Ruya Foundation said: ‘We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protesting, and the bloodshed that has led to the death of over 265 protesters so far.’

Gus Casely-Hayford is to head up the Victoria & Albert Museum’s new London space V&A East. Serving as the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., since 2018, Casely-Hayford has now returned to London – where he was born – to take up the new role in spring 2020. V&A East, built on the former site of the London Olympics in Stratford, is set to open to the public in 2023. ‘We are going to craft dynamic and compelling ways for our audiences to get close to the extraordinary, to be transported across time and geography by the most beautiful and intriguing things,’ he told The Guardian.

And in further news: Eisa Jocson has won the 2019 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award; New York’s James Cohan Gallery now represents Tuan Andrew Nguyen; Peter Blum Gallery represents Nicholas Galanin; and Beatrix Ruf has joined the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow in a ‘senior capacity on strategy and development’.

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