The Healing Power of Art

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/25/arts/design/alexander-melamids-art-healing-ministry-in-soho.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=arts

According to Alexander Melamid a New York conceptual artist who is opening an art healing center in New York, “Art needs to be taken in moderation and according to a specialist who can prescribe the right dosage.”  Melamid treats his patients in this storefront clinic by projecting images of artworks and prescribing the ‘right’ artworks to help cure their maladies.

This mentality, that art has healing powers, reminds me of Mondrian and his theosophist as painting being a devotional experience and access to the divine.   It tickles me to think that, according to this definition, teaching in museums and choosing the works that my students see, I am in fact acting as a type of art healing practitioner.  Although Melamid speaks about art in a religious and absolute tone which is unpalatable to post-modern outlooks, he touches on the fundamental rooting of art museums in the conviction that art has an intangible universal value which ought to be shared.  On some level, I subscribe to this valuation of art by choosing to teach in museums.  This raises the niggling question, does art really provide a transformative experience to middle school students or those not of the cognoscenti or is it an inaccessible and foreign visual lexicon which can only be permeated by those who have been admitted through years of study and familiarization?

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About projectpatrimonio

Helena Boyden Lamb, born 1985 in New York, has studied and worked in Politics, Heritage Ethics and Politics, and Opera Singing. Most recently, she is working in Brussels where she started in a European Think Tank and is now the Executive Office of a NGO which facilitates Youth Politics across the EU. She has a Bachelor with Honors from Stanford University, California in Classics: Politics and Heritage and a Masters with Honors from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK in European Identity. She has conducted academic or independent grant-funded research in the UK, France, Italy, Greece, Russia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Albania. She was, previously, an archaeologist and an opera singer. Cynthia Querio is a Museum Educator currently living and working in Los Angeles. She is interested in heritage and identity politics and the role of museum education departments in the trajectory of this debate. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue a 9 month graduate internship at the Getty Villa's education department and has continued to work in many museums in Los Angeles including LACMA and the Autry National Center. Her academic background is in the Classics, which was her major at Stanford University and which she continued to pursue with a Masters in the History of Classical Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art.
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