Rockhaven Sanitarium by Larissa Nickel


Larissa Nickel- hand painted image, superimposed on vintage wallpaper, Rockhaven Sanitarium, 2017. Photo by Linda Ravenswood.

Rockhaven Sanitarium was opened in 1923 by psychiatric nurse Agnes Richards for women with “mild mental and nervous disorders.” Located in Northern Glendale, California, the Friends of Rockhaven are working with artists and donors to educate the public on the importance of Rockhaven, and to help the city of Glendale restore the property, and develop a museum. After touring Rockhaven on a rainy day in May 2017, I began archiving and interpreting the wallpaper and its conflicting emotions and history to tell a narrative of Rockhaven and map the feelings of a place that matters to women, the mental health industry, and our understanding of spaces of places of yestermorrow.

Larissa Nickel is an artist, designer, educator, and curator whose work integrates Philosophy, Art, Visual Culture, and Design with an emphasis on identity, narrative place, and subculture. She applies a transdisciplinary approach focused on the interrelationship, negotiation, collaboration, engagement and possibility of cultural coproduction. Her work explores the synthesis of architecture and the body, and interactive technology investigating links between identity and place, collective identity, memory and the archive. Using the museum as an active methodology for practice, she creates works that address the museum as an artistic medium creating works that research, archive, collect, educate, and exhibit a new architecture of creative practice and cultural exchange that embraces mobility and the synaptic connectivity between object and concept, personal identity and the social collective.

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