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Artist Beverly Fishman Tackles Medical Marketing

Presents Supersized Exhibition of Tough Pills to Swallow

NORFOLK, Va. (July 6, 2015) – Beverly Fishman’s brightly colored glass and painted pills bring to the Chrysler Museum of Art a provocative commentary on the world of modern pharmaceuticals. Despite its seemingly playful appearance, In Sickness and In Health poses challenging questions about today’s culture addicted to the idea of “better living through chemistry.” The exhibition opens on the evening of July 16, 2015 and remains on view through January 3, 2016. Daytime admission is free.

Fishman’s exaggerated supersizing of pills, based on designs of actual drugs, points to the excesses she sees in the pharmaceutical business. Its aggressive branding and marketing tactics, she believes, promote medications to the sick and the healthy alike. Her use of dissonant colors and elaborate patterns alerts us to the complicated relationship between a $500-billion-a-year industry and our inherent yearning for good health.

In Sickness and In Health highlights the increasing interdependency between society and medications, and the diagnoses that have come to define our lives,” says Diane Wright, the Museum’s Barry Curator of Glass. “Beverly Fishman urges us to consider our relationship to the chemical substances on which we often depend.”

The artist’s exhibition at the Chrysler expands upon a series of earlier glass works she called Pill Spills. “I treat the museum or gallery space as a living organism by releasing pharmaceuticals into the institution’s interior,” Fishman says. “The capsule serves both as an icon and as a vehicle for abstraction, through which changing color and pattern combinations unfold. The glass pills, which cannot dissolve, present multiple paradoxes. How are we to ingest their substances? Are they cure or poison? Can art treat social ills, or is it just a placebo?”

“Color, scale, and reflectivity are deliberate in Beverly Fishman’s work,” Wright says. The artist encourages visitors to look for their reflections in the paintings’ glossy finishes and in the shiny surfaces of the glass. “As we see our faces distorted in her pills,” Wright says, “we come to see how much power we allow the pharmaceutical giants, how prescriptions become part of our personal identities,” she says. “Beverly Fishman’s art is an exercise in self-awareness.”

Opening Night and Artist Talk
Beverly Fishman: In Sickness and In Health

Third Thursday, July 16, 2015, 5–10 p.m.

Art is the best medicine tonight as the Chrysler debuts Beverly Fishman’s installation In Sickness and In Health. At 7 p.m., join the artist for a talk that explores her interest in the intersections of art, marketing, and medicine, and how these connections influence her work. After her talk, Fishman will lead a gallery talk of the exhibition. Throughout the evening, enjoy the Museum galleries, a cash bar, and live jazz by Hampton Roads’ 504 Supreme. Cost: $5, free for Museum Members and students with current school ID.


Fishman holds a B.F.A. from Philadelphia College of Art and an M.F.A. from Yale University. The recipient of several prestigious grants, she is a sought-after teacher and lecturer, and has served since 1992 as Artist-in-Residence and Head of Painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Fishman has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows, and her work is included in dozens of foundation, educational, private, and museum collections worldwide, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Toledo Art Museum, the Istanbul Art Centre, and the Miami Art Museum.


The recently expanded Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of this collection was given to the Museum by Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum in 1971. In the years since Chrysler’s death in 1988, the Museum has dramatically extended its campus and developed new ties with the Norfolk community. It now has rapidly growing collections, especially in the fields of contemporary glass, American art, photography, and 21st-century art.

In 2011, the Chrysler opened a full-service glass studio with a 560-pound capacity furnace, a full hot shop, a flameworking studio, nine annealing ovens, and a coldworking shop. In addition, the Chrysler administers two Federal-period historic houses in downtown Norfolk: the Moses Myers House and the Willoughby-Baylor House.

The Chrysler Museum of Art, One Memorial Place, Norfolk, and its Perry Glass Studio at 745 Duke St., are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The Historic Houses on E. Freemason Street are open weekends. Admission is free. For more information on exhibitions, events, and programs, visit or call (757) 664-6200.


Contact Virginia Hilton
(757) 340-7425

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