One book not to read for the holidays

25.12.2013
Swiss/British philosopher and writer Alain de Botton (photo: dpa)
Swiss/British philosopher and writer Alain de Botton (photo: dpa)

One book not to read for the holidays: Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton. "You can pick up between 80 and 90% [of what a work of art has to offer] by looking at a poster.” This is an example of a (smug) armchair quarterback pontificating like an expert and in one fell swoop dismissing all that’s visceral and sublime in the experience of standing before a work of art. Time to get a new therapist. By the same token, if you don't need to see art to get the full experience, then simply reading the bookjacket should also suffice.

Contrary to Mr. Botton’s wrongheaded dismissal of the need to physically experience a work of art, here is a more scientific study of the concrete palliative effects of actually interacting with art. The results are startling and contradict my own previously held belief that some artists annoyingly behave as if they have the power to cure disease. Now it appears they very well might.

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"Die Kunstwelt ist wie eine Mafia, es gibt ein ungeschriebenes Gesetz des Stillschweigens", sagt Kenny Schachter. Auf seinem Monopol-Blog bringt der britische Kunsthändler Licht ins Dunkle und macht die Mechanismen des Marktes transparent. In englischer Sprache
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