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Loma Linda University Painting Sells at Sotheby’s for $13.5 Million


A painting by Kerry James Marshall, Beauty Examined, that was owned by Loma Linda University sold Thursday, May 19, at Sothebys for $13.5 million, with fees, above a $12 million high estimate. "Bidding for the acrylic and collage work went on for more than five minutes—not uncommon during this sale," according to a story by Abby Schultz in Barron’s.

Nancy Adams-Sims and Charles Sims donated the painting in 2018. Charles Sims, a 1960 alumnus and pathologist, said, I made a gift to an institution that I owe an enormous debt to.”

Sims has become a serious art collector, largely of work by living artists, according to a story by Dave Allen in the Mercury News. Sims bought Beauty Examined in 1993. "The 7-foot-by-8-foot canvas shows the body of a nude, overweight woman on a morgue table, the skin of her left forearm removed as if for dissection."

Sims told Allen, “[The painting] reminds you beauty is skin deep . . . . Beauty is what people really are inside and what they do with their lives.”

Rachelle Bussell, Loma Lindas senior vice president for advancement, told Allen "that not everyone understood Beauty Examined . . . . How do you interpret it? Thats certainly not our area of expertise . . . . Its three years in the university's hands sparked discussions and thus provided value beyond the monetary." The painting had been displayed in LLU's Museum of Embryology.

The sale of Beauty Examined will help fund the schools Center for Genomics, established in 2013 to study the molecular mechanisms of human disease and health disparities. What a gift of this magnitude does is it allows us to significantly grow that and have endowed funds that will produce revenue for the Center,” Bussell told Allen.

—From Barron’s, “Sotheby’s Contemporary Sales Break Records, Realizing $283.4 Million” by Abby Schultz

—From the Mercury News, “How Did a Small California University End up with a $12 Million Painting?” by Dave Allen

60 Minutes Features Loma Linda University Medical Center Professionals in Recent Broadcast

Two Loma Linda University Medical Center staff members are featured in a recent segment of 60 Minutes. Neonatologist Mitch Goldstein and Director of Pharmacy Antony Gobin were interviewed by CBS reporter Bill Whitaker about common drugs that are in short supply in the United States. A months-long investigation by 60 Minutes has found that “pharmaceutical companies have stopped producing many life-saving generic drugs because they make too little profit.”

Goldstein said, "Many of these premature and sick babies have undeveloped digestive systems, so [they are kept alive] with intravenous nutrients, many of which are in short supply."

He told Whitaker: "It can be certain minerals. It could be certain salts. Things that you would ordinarily find in a college chemistry lab, we can't get. These are basic things. Glucose. Sugar. It's not hard to make. But the point is we can't get it."

Gobin told Whitaker, "Shortages of basic drugs are a constant worry. . . . So we were dealing with shortages long before COVID. They’re all very old, fundamental drugs that every hospital in the country needs and uses.”

Whitaker also interviewed Sarah Carney and Cyndi Valenta. Both had young sons being treated at Loma Linda Hospital and the children need chemotherapy drugs in short supply. Their interview with Whitaker demonstrated the need that patients have for these drugs in order to be treated for their conditions.

—From 60 Minutes,Medical Middlemen: Broken System Making It Harder for Hospitals and Patients to Get Some Life-Saving Drugs” by Bill Whitaker

Loma Linda University Health Researchers Demonstrate Bad Vegetarianism

Loma Linda University Health researchers say high consumption of ultra-processed foods and, separately, high consumption of red meat may be important mortality indicators,” writes Lisa Aubry from Loma Linda University Health. The LLU study, published February 24, 2022, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "adds to a growing body of knowledge about how ultra-processed foods and red meat impact human health and longevity."

Gary Fraser, MBChB, PhD, a study author and professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and School of Public Health is quoted: "Our study addresses the question of what can make a vegetarian diet healthy or unhealthy. . . . It seems that the proportion of ultra-processed foods in someone's diet is actually more important with respect to mortality than the proportion of animal-derived foods they eat, the exception being red meat."

"Fraser says the study exposes how it is possible to be a 'bad vegetarian or a good non-vegetarian' because it isolates the health impacts of processed foods in the diet—whether it's vegetarian or not. Results revealed that vegetarians who ate a lot of processed foods as part of their diets faced a similar proportionate increase in mortality outcomes as non-vegetarians who ate a lot of processed foods in their diets."

"Compared to past literature analyzing ultra-processed and animal-based foods' health impacts, this study included one of the largest cohorts, with more than 77,000 participants. It also considered a diverse array of diets, including vegetarian and non-vegetarian," writes Aubry.

—From Loma Linda University Health, Study Associates Higher Mortality with Eating Lots of Ultra-Processed Foods, Red Meat” by Lisa Aubry.


Pam Dietrich taught English at Loma Linda Academy for 26 years and served there eight more years as the 7-12 librarian. She lives in Yucaipa, California.

Title image: Beauty Examined by Kerry James Marshall (courtesy of Sotheby’s)

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