Gates to Times Square #14
Location: Student Health Services, 80 Fifth Avenue, 3rd floor

Tamara Oyola-Santiago

The choice of artwork for Student Health Services’ (SHS) space has often befuddled me. I wish that it was more health and wellness-oriented. But what does that mean? I think of my own interpretation of health and my brain momentarily conjures images of dancing bodies. More often than not, health and wellness evoke in me auras and smells of apple greens, canary yellow and papaya reds.

On an almost daily basis, I walk by and, at times, stand next to Chryssa’s Gates to Times Square #14. It is next to the photocopier/scanner/fax machine which records/scans our labor. It’s a piece with multiple shades of black and gray; it has none of the colors or shapes I associate with well-being and yet, the practice of choosing a piece for this reflection brought me to it. Why?

I re-visit the serigraph and slowly pull into me the ingredients of the piece that resonate. The choice of gray paper, the absence of white, partial labyrinths and sporadic circles. I like feeling lost, of picking a place in the paper and finding my way around. I am delighted by the sudden stops and u-turns. I like its size. I imagine what the piece would be if it was in other colors and go back to its current grayscale. It feels right as is, but is it right for this space?

My questions for The New School community:

What do health and well-being evoke in you? (Close your eyes, think the word)

Given the subjective interpretations of health, wellness and well-being, how do a curator and design team choose art for a health center?

What was the intent of the curatorial team in choosing this piece for SHS? Does their intent matter or is meaning up to me/us (the viewers)?

Tamara Oyola-Santiago, Health Educator, Student Health Services, The New School