In 1975 art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a New York gallery. He buys the work, tracks down its creator, Bill Weschler, and the two men embark on a life-long friendship.
This is the story of their intense and troubled relationship, of the women in their lives and their work, of art and hysteria, love and seduction and their sons – born the same year but whose lives take very different paths.
The love story of two runaway teenagers, Gemma and Tar, and their struggles with heroin addiction. Melvin Burgess’ most ambitious and complex novel is a multi-faceted and vivid depiction of a group of young people in the grip of addiction. It is told in many different voices, from the addicts themselves to the friends watching from the outside who try to prevent tragedy.
Cradle to Grave explores our approach to health in Britain today. The piece incorporates a lifetime supply of prescribed drugs knitted into two lengths of fabric, illustrating the medical stories of one woman and one man.
Each length contains over 14,000 drugs, the estimated average prescribed to every person in Britain in their lifetime. This does not include pills we might buy over the counter, which would require about 40,000 pills each.
Cradle to Grave is displayed in the British Museum in the ‘Living and Dying’ exhibition room (The Wellcome Trust Gallery)
There is an excellent website that explores the artwork in more detail and lets you look individually at the ‘man’ and ‘woman’ whose stories are told in the piece.>click here<
Just as an example of some of the patterns represented in the work the two screen grabs below show the pills consumed before the age of 50 – with the impact of contraceptive pill use apparent simply in the longer band for the woman (don’t worry the man soon catches up!)