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Photographer Catherine Opie Installs Work at Cleveland Clinic's Hillcrest Hospital

Opie’s First Site-Specific Commission for a Hospital Provides Views of Lake Erie through Four Seasons

June 9, 2011

Los Angeles-based photographer Catherine Opie is working with Cleveland Clinic to install her first site-specific permanent commission for a hospital on June 27-29 at Hillcrest Hospital.

Opie, an award-winning photographer whose work is part of many museum collections, partnered with Cleveland Clinic’s Arts & Medicine Institute to create Somewhere in the Middle for Hillcrest’s Jane and Lee Seidman Tower. Somewhere in the Middle is a collection of 22 photographs in which Opie captures the changing vistas of Lake Erie through the four seasons.

“Cleveland Clinic has long recognized the importance of promoting healing through the arts, and sharing Catherine Opie’s work with our patients is truly a unique opportunity to accomplish this,” said Joanne Cohen, Executive Director and Curator of the Cleveland Clinic Art Program. “Research shows the arts are good medicine. Catherine’s photographs will contribute to cultivating a soothing environment at Hillcrest Hospital that promotes health and wellness for its patients, families and caregivers.”

Opie’s photographs document people and places. She records cultures, subcultures, urban panoramas and landscapes. Previous work includes photographs of the presidential inauguration, high school football players and the Pacific sunset. For Hillcrest, her photographs compliment the architecture in the main concourse of Seidman Tower. The 72-bed tower opened in November, completing a $163 million expansion and renovation at Hillcrest.

“I want the piece to be a source of meditation and contemplation in which the viewer can be transported on a visual level as they either move past the piece or choose to sit with it,” said Opie, who grew up on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio. “My hope is that this installation will be a place that visitors and staff seek out. For those from the area, it will serve as a reminder of all that exists just outside the walls of Hillcrest Hospital – the entire world’s potential and natural beauty.”

In addition to installing the Hillcrest commission later this month, Opie will discuss the work at two appearances:

  • 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, artist’s talk at Hillcrest Hospital
  • 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 29, artist’s lecture in the Recital Hall at the Cleveland Museum of Art

In Somewhere in the Middle, Opie returns to a motif that she developed in 2000 when she photographed ice houses on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota, where she placed the horizon line in the middle of the frame, giving the sky and water each its own half of the image. For the Hillcrest commission, a consistent horizon line runs through the lake-scape on each image, creating a virtual horizon line running the length of the 100-foot concourse.

“We’re honored to have Catherine Opie’s photographs become a permanent fixture at Hillcrest Hospital,” said Hillcrest Hospital President Jeffrey A. Leimgruber, FACHE. “We believe they will contribute to the healing environment that has been created by the addition of our Seidman Tower.”

Opie’s photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. Two years ago, her photographs were featured in a mid-career retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. She is currently a professor of Photography at UCLA.

The Cleveland Clinic Art Program, which was founded in 2006 and is part of the Arts & Medicine Institute, is dedicated to enriching the lives of patients and supporting contemporary visual artists by showing and collecting their artwork. Cleveland Clinic’s art collection features more than 4,000 objects that are distributed throughout the health system. The collection’s focus on contemporary artwork reflects Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to an environment of creative excellence.

About Cleveland Clinic

Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. It was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic Health System includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, nine community hospitals and 15 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2013, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2010, there were 4 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 155,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Visit us at Follow us at

About Hillcrest Hospital

Hillcrest Hospital is a full-service 496-bed hospital that serves the medical needs of Mayfield Heights and the surrounding communities including Lake and Geauga counties. Hillcrest’s Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular, cancer, imaging, orthopedics, neurology, women and children’s services, pain management, digestive health, neonatal intensive care and pediatric emergency care. For more information, visit the Hillcrest website at

Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide video interviews and B-roll.

Media Contacts

Joe Milicia, 216.636.5873,
Stephanie Jansky, 216.636.5869,