Visual Arts Exhibition at the NIH Celebrates Tulips and Technology

Anna Fine Foer is one of our 2018 grantees. 

Below is an upcoming exhibition , which opens. January 11, 2019 at the Clinical Center at The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Press Release

Visual Arts Exhibition at the NIH Celebrates Tulips and Technology

A Code for Tulips, collage and drawing on vellum, 30”h, 22”w, 2018

A series of 12 collages by renowned artist Anna Fine Foer will be displayed in an upcoming exhibition at the National Institutes of Health titled, “Tulipmania. ”The exhibition will be on display from January 11, 2019 —March 1, 2019 at the Clinical Center at The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda in Maryland.

The exhibition includes reflection and research on the financial impact of the “Tulipmania” that occurred in the 1630s in Holland. The exhibition also explores the tulips ancestry back to Turkey, the ornamental history of the tulip pattern, pigmentation experimentation, and seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch botanical illustration.

The exhibition also results from collaboration with a microbiologist, a Principal Investigator at National Institutes of Health.  Partial financial support was provided by the Randall Frank Contemporary Artist Grant Program and the Giving Spirit Foundation Unicorn Barn Project.

Mosaic Virus, collage and watercolour, 30”h, 22”w, 2018

My collaborative partner suggested that I work with transposons, also known as genetic mutations.  A few years ago, I read Michael Pollans book The Botany of Desire and was intrigued by the tulip chapter that described how the variegated type were the most desired at the height of the tulip trade in Holland, in the 1630s. Centuries later, it was discovered that the varigations were the result of genetic mutationsThe project visualizes the tulip genome, and other Tulipmania themes. I found a geneticist who recently sequenced the tulip genome, working for tulip breeders in Leiden, where the first tulip garden was grown.  He shared the raw data with me through an instrument called MinIon (made by Oxford Nanopore.) At Oxford Nanopores conference in London May 2018, my collage A Code for Tulips, made of prints of the tulip genome, was reproduced on a large scale and displayed.Anna Fine Foer

After emmigrating to Israel, Anna worked as a textile conservator in Haifa and Tel-Aviv. She studied at the Textile Conservation Centre, Courtauld Institute in London, where she received a Post-Graduate Diploma in Textile Conservation. Later, back in the United States, Anna worked in conservation for the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C and at the same time constructed collage landscapes with sacred, political and meta-physical significance, depicting three or more dimensions on a two-dimensional plane. Her work has been exhibited at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Maryland Governor’s Mansion, the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. and elsewhere and is in the permanent collection of the Haifa Museum of Art, and the Beer-Sheva Biblical Museum.

The exhibition is an unexpected and innovative use of technique and technology.

The mission of the Clinical Center’s Fine Art Program is to pair art with medicine to promote healing in an aesthetically pleasing environment for patients, caregivers and employees. Artwork in the collection is carefully selected and placed for its healing potential and artistic quality.

About the images

A Code for Tulips – The images used are the result of the first time the tulip genome was sequenced using Oxford Nanopore technology, thanks to a geneticist from Leiden, NL. The collaged DNA sequences express the variegated petals that were the most desired during Tulipmania. Three centuries later, scientists understood this variation in a tulip’s petals was the result of a virus that caused mutations to the tulip genome. The prints are black text on white background and vice versa to illustrate the binary aspect of a gene; it is either on or off.

Mosaic Virus During Tulipmania (Netherlands 1630-37) the most desired tulip petals were striated due to a virus. Eventually, it was a series of bulb manipulation experiments begun in 1928 by Dorothy Cayley at the John Innes Horticultural Institution in Merton, South London, England that led to the discovery of the virus. The virus is known as the tulip break virus, lily streak virus, or tulip mosaic virus. The name of the virus is a central motif in this collage, with a traditional mosaic floor pattern in the shape of a double helix. The helix patterns are collaged with prints of the mosaic virus DNA sequence. The floor also is the fertile ground for a tulip garden, complete with tulips cut out of a visualization of the mosaic virus. The mosaic pattern is made with pigment colour charts referencing an attempt to standardize that which defies regulation, as was the case during Tulipmania.

Tulipa ex Machina  –  The composition expresses engineered, human intervention into the propogation of tulip bulbs to create the desired effects; those of striated, variegated petals that were the most desirable during Tulipmania.

Tulipa ex Machina, watercolour, 30”h, 22”w, 2018


Contact Information:

Lillian Fitzgerald, Coordinator

Clinical Center Art Program


Untitled Portrait (Houses) by Rafael Francisco Salas, Ripon, Wisconsin

The Randall Frank Contemporary Art Collection is happy to announce its newest acquisition from artist, Rafael Francisco Salas. 

Rafael Francisco Salas, Untitled Portrait (Houses), oil on canvas, 22 x 42 inches, 2010

Rafael Francisco Salas, Untitled Portrait (Houses), oil on canvas, 22 x 42 inches, 2010

Rafael Francisco Salas is a Wisconsin based painter. He combines landscape, the legacy of Byzantine iconography, portraiture, architecture and country music into artwork that evokes a strange, rural poetry. It reflects a personal journey of mixed race identity, conflict, beauty and devotion played out on the vast landscapes of rural Wisconsin.

His work has been exhibited in New York City, San Diego, Boston, as well as many venues in the Midwest including The Neville Public Museum, The Museum of Wisconsin Art, The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Dean Jensen gallery, Circa Gallery and Frank Juarez Gallery. His work is represented by Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Salas is also a contributing writer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and associate professor of art at Ripon College in Ripon, WI.

Samantha Haring – Chicago, Illinois

Samantha Haring is a Midwest painter from Des Plaines, Illinois. Her work is an intimate meditation on humble objects and the detritus of studio life. Haring uses her studio as subject matter to discuss the nature of loss and the inherent duality of absence and presence.

Haring earned her MFA from Northern Illinois University (2014) and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011). She has also studied in Italy at the International School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture; it was there that she fully developed her commitment to light, color, and observational painting. Haring received a scholarship from the Union League Club in Chicago in 2013. Her paintings have been exhibited across the country, most recently in the “Art of Painting” exhibition juried by William Bailey. Haring’s work is included in the Manifest International Painting Annuals 4 and 5; her work will be published in the upcoming 2015 Midwest issue of New American Paintings. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati.

Here is one of seven paintings that are now in the Randall Frank Contemporary Art Collection. 


Marlboro Red 3, gouache on panel, 6″x6″, 2012

To see our newest acquisition click here.

Visit to check out her work.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission. 

Tony Conrad – Appleton, Wisconsin

Our newest acquisition comes from Tony Conrad, a Wisconsin-based painter, from Appleton. We saw his work on the 365 Artists 365 Days Project and checked out his website. The level of detail, use of space, and sense of intimacy caught our attention. This painting, “Induction #1, is a 17 inch round, acrylic on panel painting. 

We encourage you to visit Conrad at

To read his statement and bio click here.

Induction#1 by Tony Conrad


All images copyright of the artist and used with permission.

Chris Norris – Richmond, Virginia

The second acquisition for the Randall Frank Contemporary Art Collection is by Chris Norris. Chris is a painter and illustrator in Richmond, VA. We came across his work at “FIRST FRIDAYS RVA” this past July. First Fridays is a year-round art walk in the Arts District of Richmond. Chris had a show, Hamburger Head, which was a collection of new pieces where he describes his world through the eyes of a character called,”Hamburger Head.”

We encourage you to visit Chris’s website to see more works created through Chris’s alter ego “Hamburger Head” at

Baby Hamburger Blossom, Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 12"x9", 2014

Baby Hamburger Blossom, Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 12″x9″, 2014


Baby Hamburger Blossom


The Baby Hamburger Blossom like most of my work is meant to be confrontational. If he was to fit into Joseph Campbell’s outline for the “Hero’s Journey” he would be a minor test for the Hero. (See The Hero with a Thousand Faces) He would be an obstacle. Or even a preview of what is to come. In the mythology or Special World that have created with my work, the Hamburger Head is a reflection of the worst of myself. The Hamburger Head is proud, selfish, and materialistic. The Baby Hamburger Blossom is his offspring and you can look at him as a poison pill waiting to be swallowed. He is obviously ugly but can be read as cute maybe even trusting. He is both grotesque and beautiful.

There are several motifs in the piece that are reoccurring. The flowers are always a reference to nature and the sublime. Basically they allude to the mystery of our existence. Secondly, the targets are a reference to Jasper Johns. They are both optical and allegorical. Thirdly the Baby Hamburger Blossom only has a single eye. Like the Cyclops in the Odyssey he is easily blinded. The single eye implies a lack of understanding of anything with depth, but it also implies a singular driven purpose.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

William Zuback – West Allis, Wisconsin

We are very excited to introduce to you our first of many acquisitions. Our first acquisition is by photographer, William Zuback from West Allis, Wisconsin. “Suspicious Behavior” was first seen during a studio visit at Zuback’s studio, “Back to the Zu”.

The Randall Frank Contemporary Art Collection began with a frank conversation between two friends about art and collecting. For the past year these conversations started to evolve into the idea of joining our love for Contemporary Art, getting to know artists from across the country and our resources to begin our very own art collection.

We encourage you to check out Zuback’s work at

Read about “Suspicious Behavior” [link]

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

William Zuback, “Suspicious Behavior”, photograph printed on brushed aluminum, edition: 1/1, 40x40inches, 2012


The Randall Frank Contemporary Art Collection is based in Virginia.