This is very different then my usual work except for the Pandemic Shadow print. The concept was inspired by Jennifer Jigour, who brilliantly curated the Tableware portion of the exhibition. It’s a show of the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art at the Bankhead Theater, Livermore (5/3 til 6/27), Thursday to Sunday 12 to 5pm.
Part of the concept was influences on your art. That was perfect for my design. The stainless silverware was designed by my Uncle Ben, an important industrial designer of the second half of the 20th century. The 19th century jet beads came from my Grandma Bertha, who made bead jewelry, and had an unusual jewelry store in Greenwich Village. The place mat is a pandemic shadow photo – I also wanted a sense of these difficult times.
My grandmother was the love of my life, and two of them were the really good people in my family.
And here is closer view of the work:
There were three other artists who had tableware in this phase of the exhibition. All of the work shown with mine was really impressive, so I photographed it to show here. The lighting and angles were less then perfect, but I think the images worked out well in spite of that. We were asked to write the”Toasts” as part of our projects. (Not everyone did.) Mine was covered in my conversation about my work.
Tableware by Jill Andre:
And this is the “Toast” with her Tablesetting:
Tableware by Kate Mitchell:
And a close view of her art:
Tableware by Carolyn Tullia:
And here is a closeup so you can see the amazing detail:
And here is her Toast:
And this is Jennifer Jigour in front of her art.
And here is a link to a short video she made of some of the tableware art. Because of space limitations the Tableware “rotated” at the exhibition, so there is lbeautiful art in the video that’s not in this post.
I listen to a lot of podcasts, many of them about race and racism issues, but the idea for this post came from The Allusionist, which is about words. Host Helen Zaltzman interviewed Moya Bailey, who coined the term “misogynoir” when she was doing work on racism in the medical community. As part of the conversation, Bailey relates the story of Dr. Susan Moore, a Black physician who died of COVID-19 in 2020. Despite her profession, Dr. Moore received woefully inadequate treatment for the virus because she was perceived as a “drug-seeker,” undoubtedly because of the color of her skin.
Examples like Dr. Wood’s are legion; perhaps more is to be gained from looking at the theory and practice of medical racism than the horror stories. This brings me to two things I’ve learned recently from Pod Save the People. First, race correction. When I heard the term, I thought (naively), “Wow! Sounds like a way to do evidence-based work on the medical issues that disproportionately affect the Black and Brown communities. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Race correction, which is in use today, is the misuse of what author Cathy O’Neil calls “weapons of math destruction” against the health of (especially) Black people. Jacque Smith and Cassie Spodak wrote about it for CNN.
The New England Journal of Medicine article “Hidden in Plain Sight” [link requires registration] includes a partial list of 13 medical equations that use race correction. Take the Vaginal Birth After Cesarean calculator, for example. Doctors use this calculator to predict the likelihood of a successful vaginal delivery after a prior C-section. If you are Black or Hispanic, your score is adjusted to show a lower chance of success. That means your doctor is more likely to encourage another C-section, which could put you at risk for blood loss, infection and a longer recovery period.
[Dr. Samuel] Cartwright, the racist doctor from the 1800s, also developed his own version of a tool called the spirometer to measure lung capacity. Doctors still use spirometers today, and most include a race correction for Black patients to account for their supposedly shallower breaths.
Turns out, second-year medical student Carina Seah wryly told CNN, math is as racist as the people who make it.
On a somewhat more encouraging note, Pod Save the People also hosted Dr. James Wood, a Black orthopedic surgeon. I was especially pleased to hear Dr. Wood address fatphobia and medical bias against fat people in the context of medical racism:
And there’s bias against obese patients because patients who are very obese– everybody wants to blame whatever disease that is on the body habitus. But there’s new study and new research now on obesity that’s talking about people in their best body. I see people who are obese by any standard.
They walk in, their BMI, 38-40. But then their best body, these are the same people that can run five miles. They can hike. They can ride bikes at 20-30 miles, in great shape. It just big people, doing their best body. So being able to really have people understand this and respect this is something else that’s coming on new in the future.
So people who’ve been fat shamed and other things like that– and this is happening. It has happened to doctor’s office where they walk in and say, well, you’re too fat. I can’t take care of you. Or you’re too fat, you’ve got to do that, so you could take care of your diabetes or your hypertension or your arthritis in the joints. Being more cognizant of what the conversation is now about obesity would be very helpful as well, just as an example.
I’m not sure what research Dr. Wood is citing on this “best body” concept, and I will keep looking. In the interim, it was genuinely exciting to hear a medical professional talking about medical bias and using terms like “fat shamed,” which I tend only to hear in body image circles.
I’ll close with a comment from Moya Bailey which applies both to misogynoir and medical racism:
“I’m hoping that this is perhaps the flourishing before the end. If we talk about it a lot now, perhaps that means we’ll get to a place where we can actually transform and get rid of it.”