New York (March 27, 2017) – The New York Academy of Medicine is pleased to announce that artist Kriota Willberg will be the first-ever Artist in Residence at its library, home to one of the world’s foremost collections in the history of medicine and public health. Through her comics, needlework, choreography and teaching (including anatomy, massage, and injury prevention), Willberg explores the intersections between body sciences and artistic practices.  

“The Academy and its library are committed to exploring the connections between health and medicine, the humanities and the arts,” said Academy President Jo Ivey Boufford, MD. “Our new Artist in Residence program invites artists to further explore these connections through focused research projects using our library’s world-class historical collections.”

Kriota Willberg Anatomy Demonstration at the AcademyWillberg’s previous collaborations with the Academy include a highly engaging demonstration of anatomical drawing directly on a live model at the 2014 “Vesalius 500: Art, Anatomy and the Body” festival (shown at left) and a popular 2016 workshop on visualizing and drawing anatomy. She will reprise the workshop this May, and teach a needlework class in October called “Embroidering Medicine,” which will combine elements of medical and feminist histories with hands-on embroidery techniques as a way to contextualize and experience contemporary craft practices.

“Visual artists have often used our Library collections in their research and work—particularly our anatomical atlases—and there’s a strong connection between art and anatomy,” said Lisa O’Sullivan, PhD, vice president and director of the Library. “We are excited to welcome Kriota as our first Artist in Residence because she has had a diverse career that covers so many of our different areas of interest. Her dance and massage background gives her insights into human anatomy and health; her work as a cartoonist covers both how artists can produce work in ways that don't damage their health, and explores issues in the history of medicine.”

“My interest in the history of anatomical illustration initially led me to the Library’s collection, and that research inspired me to teach an anatomy for artists workshop at the Academy. I now use historical illustrations whenever possible in my anatomy classes,” Willberg said.

Willberg will be exploring the library’s vast holdings in anatomy to research the history of stiches and ligatures—surgical techniques that also bear relevance to art and craftsmanship. During the residency, she will share her progress with peers, students and others through blog posts, social media and presentations at professional meetings and conferences. At its conclusion in September, she will present a small exhibit documenting her process and project for temporary display at the Academy, and make a public presentation documenting the results of her time spent with the collections. Documentation of any materials created as part of the Residency will remain with the Academy Library.

Willberg’s comics are seen on online sites such as IntimaBroken Pencil4 PANEL, and in the anthologies Sub CulturesAwesome ‘Possum, and the upcoming Graphic Canon. Willberg also transposes medical imagery of herself and friends into needlework as a form of portraiture. She teaches anatomy for artists at a variety of institutions including the Center for Cartoon Studies and the Society of Illustrators, as well as the Academy Library.

About The New York Academy of Medicine

The New York Academy of Medicine advances solutions that promote the health and well-being of people in cities worldwide.

Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine continues to address the health challenges facing New York City and the world’s rapidly growing urban populations. We accomplish this through our Institute for Urban Health, home of interdisciplinary research, evaluation, policy, and program initiatives; our world class historical medical library and its public programming in history, the humanities and the arts; and our Fellows program, a network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health. Our current priorities are healthy aging, disease prevention, and eliminating health disparities.