Thursday, January 06, 2005

Front row

The first part of Radio 4's Front Row arts programme this evening was very relevant. Margaret Forster's new novel Is There Anything You Want? was discussed, which has as its setting a cancer care clinic, and patients and doctors as the main characters. The verdict from the reviewers was generally favourable: it was deemed to be an evocative but sometimes uncomfortable read. Forster's previous novel Have the Men Had Enough dealt with dementia.

The next item on Front Row was also relevant to medicine: it is the fascinating story of Jacob Epstein's 18 'naked sculptures'. These were commissioned for the British Medical Association's erstwhile headquarters on the Strand in London in 1908. The sculptures, always controversial, were subsequently deemed 'a safety hazard' when the building became the Rhodesian High Commission. Various bits (mainly heads and genitalia) were hacked off. The Third Campaign is an 'action based process' launched by artist Neal White to have the statues reconstructed. As well as White campaigning outside Zimbabwe House, there is also an exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds. Read more about it in the Institute's newsletter.

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