- ART IS LONG. LIFE IS SHORT. THE MOMENT IS
BRIEF. THE EXPENSE IS GREAT.
Health care evokes the genre of a German morality
play. It portrays an American peasant. Led by Sickness or Death, the peasant
comes before a panel of doctors, and insurance adjustors. The Death figure
looks frightening like the hazardous materials workers of the twenty first
century. although when the artist painted this in 1978, those figures were
not known to us.
The high priests of our society are the doctors. The
doctors sit, in their priestly robes looking more like priests or judges.
It is they who decide the peasant's fate. The hems of their garments are
laced, like those of priests. Several defining symbols assure us of their
profession, including the golf club, the AMA medallion, the shield of the
medical profession and of the insurance profession, a staff, a stethoscope,
a cross held by s character with reds and blues on his collar, and a
jester hat on his head. Their hats tell another story, those of doctors. priests,
"When I panted this in 1978, I thought that its
message would be dated and its relevance would soon be lost as time went
by. Yet it perhaps one of the most relevant commentaries of contemporary
issues facing us in our personal lives; health care and the Doctors, and
their relationship to those who insure the care.
Despite the comical farce, the play is deadly
serious. The quote, the subtitle of the painting, is a part of the
painting itself - the words appear subtly along the bottom edge of the
drama in the painting. "ART IS
LONG. LIFE IS SHORT. THE MOMENT IS BRIEF. THE EXPENSE IS GREAT."