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World's largest 'vinyl' painting

For an artist, scale matters. The size of a painter’s canvas can be as small as a postage stamp or as big as the wall of a room. But A&D professor Jim Cogswell’s recent work for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital may be the first time that a painter has been asked to use an 8-story window façade as a canvas. (Photo left: Jim Cogswell and Melanie Manos)


The idea to ask Jim to create a site-specific work on the windows of the new hospital came from Melanie Manos (MFA ’09). Along with her boss, Kathy Ballew, Melanie was in charge of curating a $1.6 million museum-quality art collection for the hospital.

Melanie had seen Cogswell’s experiments with window vinyl at the WORK • Detroit gallery and wondered what it would look like on a massive scale at Mott.

The collection would feature artists with a Michigan connection of some kind. About 19 A&D alumni and faculty have work in the new space. (PHOTO RIGHT: Michele Oka Doner, a Michigan alum, was commissioned to create a bronze fossil terrazzo floor installation in the two-story sky-lit main lobby.)

Cogswell, along with Larry Cressman and Michele Oka Doner, were among the artists who were asked to create site-specific installations for the hospital. Check out a slideshow of some of the work here.

Jim’s assignment was perhaps the most complex of all the installation projects. It took over two years to plan and execute, required $150,000 worth of vinyl, covers 11,000 square feet of glass, and took 6 months just to install.

Now that this mammoth task is completed, Jim is prepared to reveal the story behind ‘the making of.’ He describes the process as a series of artistic challenges. Some challenges came with the assignment itself but, since Jim enjoys complexity, some were self-imposed.

Click on link to watch a video interview with JIM COGSWELL