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Art as therapy / Alain de Botton, John Armstrong.

By: De Botton, Alain [author.].
Contributor(s): Armstrong, John, 1966- [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookLondon, England : Phaidon Press Limited, 2013 ©2013Description: 239 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 28 cm.Content type: still image | text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 0714865915 (hardback); 9780714865911 (hardback); 9780714865911; 0714865915.Subject(s): Art -- Psychology | Art appreciationDDC classification: 701.18
Contents:
Methodology. The seven functions of art ; What is the point of art? ; What counts as art? ; What kind of art should one make? ; How should art be bought and sold? ; How should we study art? ; How should art be displayed? -- Love. Can we get better at love? ; What is it like to be a good lover? ; Attention to detail ; Am I allowed to be turned on? ; How to make love last ; Courage for the journey -- Nature. Remembering nature ; The importance of the South ; Anticipating autumn ; The sense of what is beautiful ; The new artists of nature -- Money. Art as a guide to the reform of capitalism ; The problem of taste ; The role of the critic in the education of taste ; Towards and enlightened capitalism ; Enlightened investment ; Career advice from artists -- Politics. What should political art be aiming at? ; What is there to be proud of? ; Who should we try to become? ; A defence of censorship ; And now... to change the world.
Summary: Describes a new way of looking at familiar masterpieces, suggesting that the works of art can be useful, relevant--and even therapeutic.Summary: There is widespread agreement that art is 'very important' - but it can be remarkably hard to say quite why. Yet if art is to enjoy its privileges, it has to be able to demonstrate its relevance in understandable ways to the widest possible audience. Alain de Botton and John Armstrong have a firm belief that art can help us with our most intimate and ordinary dilemmas, asking: What can I do about the difficulties in my relationships? Why is my work not more satisfying? Why do other people seem to have a more glamorous life? Why is politics so depressing? The purpose of this book is to introduce a new method of interpreting art: art as a form of therapy. It's the authors' contention that certain art works provide powerful solutions to our problems, but that in order for this potential to be released, the audience's attention has to be directed towards it in a new way (which they demonstrate), rather than towards the more normal historical or stylistic concerns with which art books and museum captions are traditionally associated. The authors propose that the squeamish belief that art should be 'for art's sake' has unnecessarily held back art from revealing its latent therapeutic potential. This book involves reframing and recontextualising a series of art works from across the ages and genres, so that they can be approached as tools for the resolution of difficult issues in individual life.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

There is widespread agreement that art is 'very important' - but it can be remarkably hard to say quite why. Yet if art is to enjoy its privileges, it has to be able to demonstrate its relevance in understandable ways to the widest possible audience. Alain de Botton and John Armstrong have a firm belief that art can help us with our most intimate and ordinary dilemmas, asking: What can I do about the difficulties in my relationships? Why is my work not more satisfying? Why do other people seem to have a more glamorous life? Why is politics so depressing?

The purpose of this book is to introduce a new method of interpreting art: art as a form of therapy. It's the authors' contention that certain art works provide powerful solutions to our problems, but that in order for this potential to be released, the audience's attention has to be directed towards it in a new way (which they demonstrate), rather than towards the more normal historical or stylistic concerns with which art books and museum captions are traditionally associated.

The authors propose that the squeamish belief that art should be 'for art's sake' has unnecessarily held back art from revealing its latent therapeutic potential. This book involves reframing and recontextualising a series of art works from across the ages and genres, so that they can be approached as tools for the resolution of difficult issues in individual life.

Includes index.

Methodology. The seven functions of art ; What is the point of art? ; What counts as art? ; What kind of art should one make? ; How should art be bought and sold? ; How should we study art? ; How should art be displayed? -- Love. Can we get better at love? ; What is it like to be a good lover? ; Attention to detail ; Am I allowed to be turned on? ; How to make love last ; Courage for the journey -- Nature. Remembering nature ; The importance of the South ; Anticipating autumn ; The sense of what is beautiful ; The new artists of nature -- Money. Art as a guide to the reform of capitalism ; The problem of taste ; The role of the critic in the education of taste ; Towards and enlightened capitalism ; Enlightened investment ; Career advice from artists -- Politics. What should political art be aiming at? ; What is there to be proud of? ; Who should we try to become? ; A defence of censorship ; And now... to change the world.

Describes a new way of looking at familiar masterpieces, suggesting that the works of art can be useful, relevant--and even therapeutic.

There is widespread agreement that art is 'very important' - but it can be remarkably hard to say quite why. Yet if art is to enjoy its privileges, it has to be able to demonstrate its relevance in understandable ways to the widest possible audience. Alain de Botton and John Armstrong have a firm belief that art can help us with our most intimate and ordinary dilemmas, asking: What can I do about the difficulties in my relationships? Why is my work not more satisfying? Why do other people seem to have a more glamorous life? Why is politics so depressing? The purpose of this book is to introduce a new method of interpreting art: art as a form of therapy. It's the authors' contention that certain art works provide powerful solutions to our problems, but that in order for this potential to be released, the audience's attention has to be directed towards it in a new way (which they demonstrate), rather than towards the more normal historical or stylistic concerns with which art books and museum captions are traditionally associated. The authors propose that the squeamish belief that art should be 'for art's sake' has unnecessarily held back art from revealing its latent therapeutic potential. This book involves reframing and recontextualising a series of art works from across the ages and genres, so that they can be approached as tools for the resolution of difficult issues in individual life.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In spite of its handsome design and rich illustrations, this title is not a conventional coffee-table art book. Rather than a monograph of a significant artist or overview of a stylistic movement, it is a survey of an expansive swath of Western art history, from the Renaissance to the present. Armstrong and de Botton, who founded the School of Life, a multinational organization dedicated to the dissemination of good ideas, make a polemical argument that art is, at its essence, a therapeutic tool offering viewers the opportunity for self-realization and transformation. The authors propose that we put aside such dry academic questions as historical context and instead ask how artworks can help us solve the most vexing questions in life: What is there to be proud of? What should we become? Some may be surprised by the sweeping and prescriptive nature of de Botton and Armstrong's conclusions. They claim, for instance, that the appreciation of beauty in good art allows us to recognize the unsightliness of much modern architecture and thus the need for aesthetic censorship. VERDICT While many scholars will dismiss this title as an ahistorical attempt to join the genres of art criticism and self-help, casual art museumgoers may find much to contemplate.-Jonathan -Patkowski, CUNY Graduate Ctr. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

What is art for? The School of Life founder de Botton (How Proust Can Change Your Life) and University of Melbourne art historian Armstrong (The Intimate Philosophy of Art) propose a profoundly refreshing and heterodox approach to art as a "therapeutic medium" that can help people access "better versions of themselves." Upending the art world's self-referential culture, the book assigns seven functions to art: "Remembering," "Hope," "Sorrow," "Rebalancing," "Self-Understanding," "Growth," and "Appreciation." The most novel moments come from lessons the authors glean from an eclectic range of works. Manet's reflections on the mundane in the painting, Bunch of Asparagus, can instruct us to "re-evaluate and re-desire our partners." A brooding sculpture by Richard Serra teaches us about dignity and the honor of sorrow. The authors formulate an intellectual framework for artists-one that includes the conflicts and virtues of love, for example-to give art an educational goal. However, such an agenda clearly favors one-dimensionality over the complex or ambiguous. Related themes tackled here include money and politics, with the authors arguing for "enlightened investment." Scarcely convincing, though, is the case for progovernment censorship. Nevertheless, the proposal that art dealers function as therapists, that museums be organized into galleries of suffering and compassion, and that scholars "analyze how art could help with a broken heart" boldly positions art at the center of our daily lives. 150 color illus. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

CHOICE Review

This volume by de Botton (author, and founder of The School of Life, London) and Armstrong (philosopher/art theorist, Melbourne Univ., Australia) appears to reflect the work of The School of Life, which helps people to be good and to overcome the difficulties inherent in life. The book's theme is that the traditional way of experiencing art can leave one bewildered and unsure as to why the art museum experience fails to have the mysterious effect that it is supposed to have. The authors suggest that art needs a defined purpose: that it should be a tool to help people deal with their psychological frailties or weaknesses. They identify seven functions of art: remembering, hope, sorrow, rebalancing, self-understanding, growth, and appreciation. Further, they advocate that museums should display and describe art differently. Examples would be organizing rooms with themes (such as tenderness) and displaying captions that describe the human emotions that art portrays, rather than historical facts about an artwork. The Agenda for Art that the authors propose could provide a good discussion starter in art history, museum administration, business, and psychology courses. This volume includes many color plates. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above. N. M. Lambert University of South Carolina Upstate