'Art is Therapy' by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong

Exhibitions / Amsterdam
25 April 2014 - 07 September 2014, 9am - 5pm

Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX
+31 (0)20 674 7000
€: 15

After releasing their new book Art as Therapy, philosophers and authors Alain de Botton and John Armstrong have teamed up with the Rijksmuseum for a conceptual exhibition which sees 150 objects in the permanent collection being re-framed through new captions in Art is Therapy.

Exhibition Art is Therapy

For the exhibition Art is Therapy, de Botton and Armstrong seek to question what art can mean to visitors.

De Botton and Armstrong posit that by looking at masterpieces in a different way, they can be made more useful, relevant and, most importantly, therapeutic to viewers. 

In the Art as Therapy book, the two discuss how art, when engaged properly, can help overcome vague questions that plague all of humanity, including those regarding virtues, emotions and conceptual conundrums.

Using this as a theoretical starting point, the two have created a new series of captions for 150 works in the Rijksmuseum's permanent collection to confront visitors with deeper issues in the art works that they may also struggle with in their own lives. 

In an effort to subvert conventional captions (which use time periods and artists' names to contextualise a piece), the exhibition looks to make the work useful for the viewer by creating a more direct, emotional connection to the art.

rijksmuseum botton 2014
The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1660

botton rijksmuseum 2014
‘The Little Street’, Johannes Vermeer, c. 1658

Extending the exercise beyond just the art works, the two will also incorporate objects from the shop, cafe, cloakroom and 40 prints from the Rijksmuseum Print Room. 

With text boards designed by Irma Boom added to the original ones, the goal of the exhibit is to highlight the power that art has as a therapeutic tool in soothing difficult issues that we all face, such love and relationships, work, status, memory and mortality. 


Read more about de Botton and Armstrong.
Purchase tickets in advance here.

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