For Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #14, placed in the “Money” section of the AGO’s “Art as Therapy,” de Botton tells us Sherman’s character is “uncertain about herself” and that it’s “a very normal feeling” and “we are a bit like this too.” It’s one of his many idiotic misreadings (I could fill this review with them, but you get the idea), originating from a desire to mollify. Sherman’s work is, of course, disturbing. It fetishizes and makes perverse sexual vulnerability. It is paradoxical, ambivalent—it unbalances, one of art’s great pleasures (cf. the Stendhal syndrome). This does not take away its instructive or socially useful qualities. On the contrary, it augments them.
David Balzer, on Alain de Botton’s truly terrible #artastherapy, winning my heart. (via emk-irl)
It’s a really good piece on what sounds like a really shit show, but David doesn’t just bash Botton (which would be easy), he opens out to a larger discussion of what art is good for and how it works. Nicely done.