Sunday, August 3, 2003

Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Wrap Artist

First appeared in the Boston Globe.

CAN ART ILLUMINATE medicine? The exhibit “Pulse: Art, Healing, and Transformation,” on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art until Aug. 31, features an installation designed by the Brazilian artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who died of AIDS in 1996. Called “Untitled (Placebo),” the piece consists of a floor strewn with glittering, foil-wrapped candies, which visitors are invited to eat-as they apparently have, since the original 1,000-pound allotment seems much reduced.

Sweet relief: The placebo

First appeared in the Boston Globe.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School are putting the lowly placebo to the test. Can it establish itself as a legitimate remedy?

By Harvey Blume

IN THE 1960s, Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins, paralyzed by a degenerative disease that seemed well on the way to killing him, took batches of vitamin C, laughed his head off watching Marx Brothers movies, and experienced complete remission. Cousins gave total credit for his recovery to what he called the “doctor who resides within”-the placebo effect.