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Alain de Botton and John Armstrong: Art As Therapy

Wednesday April 30, 2014
7 – 8:30pm
Jackman Hall

Join Alain de Botton and John Armstrong as they talk about Art As Therapy - a new book and a series of exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Rijksmuseum, and the National Gallery of Victoria that reframe and recontextualize 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. Authors Alain de Botton and John Armstrong will discuss the origins of the project, as well as the works they have included in Art as Therapy from the AGO’s collection. Alain de Botton and John Armstrong have a firm belief that art can help us with our most intimate and ordinary dilemmas, asking, through Art As Therapy: 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? 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.

Alain de Botton is the author of bestselling books in more than 30 countries, including The Consolations of Philosophy, How Proust Can Change Your Life, Status Anxiety, and, most recently, Religion for Atheists. He founded The School of Life in London in 2008, which supplies good ideas for everyday life in the form of courses, classes, workshops and talks. In 2009 he founded Living Architecture, which aims to make high-quality architecture accessible to everyone.  

John Armstrong is a British philosopher and art historian based at Melbourne University. He is the author of five well-received books, including The Intimate Philosophy of Art, Conditions of Love: The Philosophy of Intimacy, and In Search of Civilisation: Remaking a Tarnished Idea.

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