At Lou Ruvo center, a painting to match the mission
Tue, Nov 23, 2010 (6:40 p.m.)
Photo: Erik Kabik/Retna
When construction of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health was completed and the carpet had been installed in its events center, Larry Ruvo, project founder, made two calls: one to Frank Gehry, the building’s architect, and another to his longtime friend Steve Wynn, whom he wanted to see the space.
Wynn, an art collector, took a long look at the impressive cathedral-like interior with cascading white and windowed walls and decided it needed a big statement, a bright, shining example of vitality and hope. It needed art. Wynn’s girlfriend, Andrea Hissom, immediately suggested James Rosenquist, a contemporary artist who came to prominence during the pop art era with the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
The result is “Cervello Spazio Cosmico,” a 10-by-20-foot vertical painting that represents the depth and richness of space as it appears in the X-ray of a human skull, in nature (flowers, more specifically) and in man-made imagery. While in town for the unveiling, Rosenquist spoke about his family’s experience with Alzheimer’s and brain injuries, praised building architect Frank Gehry, whom he’s known for 40 years, and addressed the infinity of the cosmos and the infinity of the “amazing and fantastic” brain.
The magnificent composition will hang permanently in the events center, a space Rosenquist is fond of. “I think this building is a happy place,” Rosenquist said. “I walk in here and I feel good.”