Erin Williams’s Love Sick
An artist researches one form of illness in the time of another.
Apr 13, 2020
Erin Williams visited MoMA last month, just before the Museum closed for the health and safety of New York City during the global coronavirus crisis. For this month’s Drawn to MoMA, in which artists share their own visions of life at the Museum, Williams reflects on her experience seeing Marlene Dumas’s Chlorisis (Love Sick) (1994) in the galleries, and the medical research rabbit hole it led her down. “A disease is not simply a fact; a fixed or passive thing. Like art, illness is specific to time and place.” She also wonders how our new form of isolation will be seen by artists in the future.
Barker, Kristin Kay. The Fibromyalgia Story: Medical Authority and Women’s Worlds of Pain. Temple University Press, 2005.
Brown, Phil. “Naming and Framing: The Social Construction of Diagnosis and Illness.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, vol. 35, 1995, p. 34., doi:10.2307/2626956.
Bynum, Bill. “Chlorosis.” The Lancet, vol. 358, no. 9275, 2001, p. 78., doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(00)05260-0.
Edwards, Claire, and Rob Imrie. “Disability and Bodies as Bearers of Value.” Sociology, vol. 37, no. 2, 2003, pp. 239–256., doi:10.1177/0038038503037002002.
“Marlene Dumas. Chlorosis (Love Sick). 1994.” MoMA, www.moma.org/audio/playlist/1/213.
Moore, Levi. “Lovesickness in Art and Medicine.” Hektoen International, 23 Jan. 2017, hekint.org/2017/01/23/lovesickness-in-art-and-medicine/.
Wailoo, Keith. Drawing Blood: Medical Conceptions of Disease in 20th Century America, from Chlorosis to Sickle Cell Anemia. UMI, 1995.
Erin Williams is a New York–based writer, illustrator, and researcher.