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::Who Is Eric Avery? 
Side View of My Brain 
1997-Avery Brain
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1953-Eric Avery
1958-Eric Avery
1970-Medical School Galveston
Portrait of the Artist as a Young
1973-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Doctor

1974-James Eggers, M.D.
Eric Avery, M.D.

1979-On the Lam Street Band, New York City
First Rain in Las Dhure Refugee Camp, Somaliae Camp, Somalia (1979-1980)
1980-Las Dhure Refugee Camp, Somalia
Photo: Wolfgang Starke, M.D.
1980-Las Dhure Refugee Camp, Somalia
Photo: Harry Benson
1980-Las Dhure Refugee Camp
German Red Cross Tent
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1995-Condom Head
Photo: R. Haile
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1995-Use Your Head, Use a Condom
Photo: Roger Haile
1995-Wallpaper Works
1992-Trevor Fairbrother and Eric Avery, Boston Museum
1994-Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Member of The Institute for Medical Humanities

Eric Avery MD

Born November 8, 1948 Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Raised in Pecos, Texas

Bachelor of Art in Fine Art, University of Arizona, 1970

Medical Doctor, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, 1974

Psychiatry Residency, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City, 1976 - 1979

Medical Doctor Ship Sea Sweep, Indonesia 1980

Medical Director, Las Dhure Refugee Camp, Somalia, 1980-1981

Lived in San Ygnacio, Texas, 1981-1992, making and exhibiting his art and working as the Southern Region Refugee Coordinator for Amnesty International USA

Returned to the Practice of Medicine in 1992 as the Consultation-Liaison HIV Psychiatrist at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and joined the faculty at The Institute for the Medical Humanities at UTMB

Lived in Galveston, Texas 1992-2013

Retired (August 31, 2012) as Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Member of The Institute for the Medical Humanities at The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

Currently, remains Emeritus Associate Professor, The Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities, UTMB, Galveston, Texas.

For the 2019 Spring semester at East Tennessee State University, he was The Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric and Science.

In 2019, after 6 years in New Hope, Pennsylvania he moved back to San Ygnacio, Texas, two blocks from the Rio Grande, 30 miles down the Border from Laredo, Texas. He continues to make art and develop art medicine projects.

Listen to Nicole Bearden’s Critical Bounds” 10/22/20 podcast conversation with Eric Avery “On Art and Health” (70 minutes)

For forty years he has worked at the intersection of visual art and medicine. His social content prints explore issues such as human rights abuses, and social responses to disease (HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases), death, sexuality and the body. In clinical art spaces set up in art museums and galleries, his art medicine actions have explored the liminal space between art and medicine. From 1992-2012, at the IMH in Galveston, he made prints, paper and art actions that reflected his clinical work with HIV/AIDS.

He has had numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and his prints are in many collections including: Smith College Art Museum, Baltimore Art Museum, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, Firestone Library at Princeton University, The Library of Congress, ARS MEDICA collection Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin Texas, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas, The Boston Museum of Art, The National Library of Medicine, The Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale University School of Medicine, Watson Library The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art. In England, his work is included in The British Museum and The Wellcome Trust Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine.


Selected Projects 2013 to Present

Smith College Museum of Art-"The Art of Healing is a Sacred Art": The Prints of Dr. Eric Avery (Blog Post 2013)

Smith College Museum of Art Acquisition - Paper+People (Blog Post 2014)

Princeton University Firestone Library (Blog Post 2014)

Art AIDS America (Exhibition 2015)

The American Dream: From Pop to the Present (Exhibition 2017)

Print Life Neurogenesis (Print 2017)

Epidemic York College (Exhibition 2018)

Epidemic ETSU (Exhibition 2019)

Eric Avery: Doctor of Printmaking (Blog Post 2019)

Wayne G Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric and Science, Spring Semester 2019 East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee

Eric Avery: Paradise Arrives (Blog Post 2019)


- Sue Coe, artist and author/illustrator

    I first met Dr. Eric Avery through a letter from Somalia. He was working as a doctor in a refugee camp with thousands of human beings who were starving to death. A photograph in Life magazine shows Eric in the middle of the camp that stretched for miles, a figure at dusk holding up a tiny baby into the light, silhouetted by dusty tents. It was there that Eric started to make woodcuts—to record the terrible sights he had seen and, as his scalpel cut into the wood, as therapy.

    If you are fortunate enough to be a friend of Eric’s, you will receive woodcut cards of plants and birds, shells and trees, as purely and simply illustrated as engravings by the 19th-century British naturalist Thomas Bewick. That would be sufficient for most artists, but for Eric, harsh truth is as urgently beautiful.

    Eric uses science and art in tandem to heal. He transmutes the chaff of suffering into art. Eric always says “life before art” as he plunges into healing the victims of society wherever he finds them—in crack houses, on death row—refugees on the broken borders of life or death, the poor, the abandoned. They become alive in his art; their content creates his form.

    His work as an artist/psychiatrist treating patients with HIV has become a document of historical record and is as sophisticated and powerful as any Dürer woodcut. It is the antibody to our disease of distance. Dominant culture flattens all experience, rendering reality into irony. We no longer trust ourselves to experience life directly. Eric makes art in the tradition of reportage; there is a direct emotional involvement with his subjects, a witnessing that is devoid of sentiment. The humility of small woodcuts depicting faces of cherished patients, printed on paper that is made from hospital sheets or the clothing of AIDS orphans, subverts and unravels the dominant social ideology of power and superiority.

Read about Eric Avery? Political Prints and Paper Making
Text by Eric Avery with illustrations Hand Papermaking, Summer 2004

Current Employment:
Self Employed Visual Artist


PO Box 250
San Ygnacio, Texas 78067


Undergraduate - 1966-1970
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Degree: Bachelors of Art in Art

Medical School - 1970-1974
The University of Texas Medical Branch
School of Medicine
Galveston, Texas
Degree: M.D.

Internship - 1974-1975
The University of Texas Medical Branch
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Galveston, Texas

Residency - 1975-1978
Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program
Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center
New York State Psychiatric Institute
Department of Psychiatry
New York City, New York

Fellowship - 1992-1994
Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (HIV/AIDS)
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
The University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, Texas

Professional Activities: Medicine

Clinical Staff Psychiatrist (1992 - 2012)
AIDS Clinical Care and Research Program Out-Patient Clinic
The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

Consultant Psychiatrist (1998 - 2012)
HIV & General Consultant Psychiatry
The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas


Professional Activities: Art Medicine

Art Actions
Printed Matter

Looking Down MRI View of My Brain
1997-Avery Brain
Click to view larger image
1993-HIV Condom Filled Pinata
Photo: S. Nussenblat
1997-Eric Avery, David Paar, Sue Coe, NYC
1996-The Stuff of Life
Photo: J. Glowczwski
Click to view larger image
1997-Fogg Art Museum
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Photo: Harvard Crimson
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Photo: J. Glowczwski
1997-Eric Avery, William Marshall- Studio Assistant
Stuff of Life
Because We Are
Bill Lagatutta and Eric Avery
2003-Bill Lagatutta, Master Printer Tamarind Institute, and Eric Avery at 3rd Impact Print Conference, Cape Town, South Africa
2012-Medical Student Teaching Award. Dwight Wolf MD, Eric Avery MD, Robert Hirschfeld MD, Chairman of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Photo: M. Kinonen
2014-New Hope, Pennsylvania
Photo: Daniel Heyman
2015-Whitney Museum of Art
Photo: Roger Haile
eric and rush
2018-Eric Avery and printmaking mentor Andrew Rush in Tucson, Arizona
resist ageism exhibit
2018-Resist Ageism
Photo: Jill Schoeniger
2018-Eric Avery and Adam DelMarcelle Epidemic exhibit York College, York Pennsylvania
Photo: Marissa Grate
chairholder 2019
2019-Basler Chair for the Intergration, Rhetoric of Art and Science
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN

Photo credit: Dave DiMarchi
studio 2020
Eric Avery 2020 San Ygnacio studio
Photo: Charlie Warden
avery painting
August 2020. Painting Laredo, Texas No Border Wall street mural.
March 2023. Ways of Seeing Laredo, Texas

-Back to Print Retrospective
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