Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Arts Project: early days

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 21 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1634
  1. Tony Delamothe, deputy editora
  1. a BMJ, London WC1H 9JR

    Dotted through this week's journal are reproductions of works from the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Arts Project. Opened in 1993, the hospital resembles a modern art gallery adorning the capital of some oil rich state. Brochures describing the hospital bristle with superlatives: the transparent plastic roof “covers the world's largest naturally ventilated atrium,” an area even larger than Wembley Stadium.

    In this atrium the exhibits genuinely seem bigger and bolder than those from more modest establishments. Sculptures soar 18 metres into the air; mobiles and banners twist and flutter from their mountings five storeys up. Enormous canvasses have enough space to breathe. The pieces have been selected with flair, good artistic judgment, and what looks like bags of cash.

    Rarely can such a positive outcome have had such a desultory beginning: the last agenda item of the last meeting of the medical executive committee overseeing the closure of six London hospitals to make way for the new Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. …

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