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?