ARTS(AM)400 Art, Mind, & Diversity, Dejan Atanackovic, Fall 2016

During the first half of the term, class time is split between lectures and studio time. During the second half, students mainly concentrate on practical work, which includes collaboration with various groups and individuals focused on art and therapy practices.

An overview of ideas on human nature begins with the 19th-century context of the Florentine Museum of Anthropology, and regards the writings “on passions” and experimental work of its founder Paolo Mantegazza.

Myths and fairy tales are approached as a repertoire of universal images, followed by a brief history of psychoanalytic ideas, such as Freud's unconscious, Jung's archetype, and Lacan's mirror stage.

Political aspects of the treatment and isolation of mental patients is approached throught the writings of Michel Foucault and Thomas Szasz.

The elements of history of art practices in relation to psychiatric treatment are observed through the work of Jean Dubuffet, along with the analysis of Outsider Art, Art Brut, and the concept of “horror vacui.”

Lectures also include the study of the “case of Vienna,” an analysis of the parallels between the early 19th-century and the late 1960s Viennese artists in relation to the themes of anxiety and freedom.

The practical part of the course is not media-specific and it may include a variety of approaches to art, such as (collaborative) painting and drawing, assemblage, performance art, and documentary photography or video as well as “discursive” methods and community based art forms. Most of all, the course art production is based on a dialogue between the students and the participants of the therapy center. Studio work also includes contacts and possible collaboration with a local theater focused on productions which involve psychiatric patients.

The course also includes field trips and outdoor activities with the participants of the therapy center. The outcome of the course is presented at the end of the term as an exhibition/event at the therapy center or in another exhibition space in the city.

Graduate Students
​Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.

Readings - Preliminary Bibliography

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act Textbook Provision, SACI provides, when possible, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price of required and recommended reading. Note: It is not necessary to purchase the books below. Many required and recommended texts are available for loan or can be consulted in the SACI Worthington Library.

Students will read excerpts from the following publications:

Foucault, M., History of MadnessRoutledge, 2006.
ISBN: 9780415477260 (Retail price: $34.95)

Foucault, M., Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Penquin, 1991.
ISBN: 9780140137224 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Foucault, M., Madness and Civilization, Routledge, 1989.
ISBN: 9780415253857 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Szasz, Thomas, The Manufacture of Madness, Syracuse University Press, 1997.
ISBN: 978-0815604617 (Retail price: $19.95)

Bettelheim, B., The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy TalesVintage, 2010.
ISBN:  9780307739636 (Retail price: $17)

Freud, S., Leonardo Da Vinci, Memories of His Childhood and other writings, Ark Paperbacks, 1984.
ISBN: 9780744800098 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Jacobi, J., Complex/Archetype/Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jung, Princeton University Press, 1971.
ISBN: 9780691017747 (Retail price: $35)

Reik, Theodor, Myth and GuiltGeorge Braziller, 1957.
ISBN: To Be Determined (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Calvino, I., Italian FolktalesPantheon Books, 1980.
ISBN: 9780394749099 (Retail price: To Be Determined)

Grimm, W & J., Fairy TalesEveryman's Library, 1992.
ISBN: 9781857159059 (Retail price: To Be determined)

Artaud, A. Theater and Its Double, Grove Press, 1994.
ISBN: 9780802150301 (Retail price: $16)

Kuster, U. Louise Bourgeois, Hatje Cantz, 2012.
ISBN: 9783775732277 (Retail price: $25)

Storr, R., and Paulo Herkenhoff, Louise Bourgeois, Phaidon, 2004.
ISBN: 9780714841229 (Retail price: $49.95)

Kristeva, J., Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, Columbia University Press, 1982.
ISBN: 9780231053471 (Retail price: $33)

Film screening: Suddenly Last Summer, J. Mankiewitz

(Other texts or screenings may be included further on)


Week 1

Monday, September 5
Introduction. Course objectives.

Friday, September 9
Florentine context. Paolo Mantegazza and the study of passions.

Museum of Anthropology. Anthropology as the study of the nature of man. Scientific gaze towards the “other.” The notion of "the savage." Cesare Lombroso and the theory of atavism. The use of photography in constructing otherness.

Week 2

Monday, September 12
Visit to the Museum of Anthropology.

Meeting with Francesca Bigoni, anthropologist. Relations between anthropology and psychoanalysis.

Friday, September 16
First visit to the daily therapy center Fili e Colori.

Introduction to the objectives of collaborative works.

Week 3

Monday, September 19
Constructing the psychiatric patient. Thomas Szasz and the continuity between the 15th-century witch-hunt and modern psychiatric treatment.

The story of Benjamin Rush, a Founding Father and a psychiatrist.

Discipline and control, the concept of the panopticon. Michel Foucault.

The theme of power and control in contemporary art.

Readings (excerpts):
M. Foucault, History of Madness and Discipline and Punish.
Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness.

Friday, September 23
Beginning of activities at the Fili e Colori daily center. Work based on sharing and exchange. Mutual portrait assignment. Further development: The “speaking portrait.” 

Week 4

Monday, September 26
The myth of Cupid and Psyche. The structure of psyche. The unconscious in Freud and Jung. Collective unconscious and archetype. Lacan and the “mirror stage.”

Viewing the first assignment results – the “speaking portrait.”

Readings (excerpts):
S. Freud, Leonardo Da Vinci, Memories of His Childhood and other writings.
J. Jacobi, Complex, Archetype, Symbol in the Psychology of C. G. Jung.

Friday, September 30
Lecture on Art therapy methods at the Fili e Colori center. Sharing of the “speaking portraits.”

Week 5

Monday, October 3
Psychoanalysis and fairytales. Hansel and Gretel. The writings of Bruno Bettelheim.

Guest lecturer: Elisa Biagini, contemporary rewriting / reinterpreting popular tales.

Readings (excerpts):
B. Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.

Friday, October 7
Activities at the Fili e Colori daily center.

Collaborative exercise: prepare a fairytale (excerpt, image) of your choice to tell / present / describe and present a task to the users of the center to represent it through drawing, writing or performance.

Week 6

Monday, October 10
The case of Louise Bourgeois. Artists’ themes and methods. The theme of the devouring mother and the betraying father. The theme of the abject.

Readings (excerpts):
Ulf Kuster, Louise Bourgeois
Robert Storr, Louise Bourgeois

Friday, October 14
Activities at the Fili e Colori daily center.

Viewing of the results: Fairytale re-interpretation.

Week 7

Monday, October 17
The case of Vienna. Turn of the century anxiety. Schiele, Klimt, Mahler. 1970’s Vienna and the Actionist group. The theme of the abject, revisited.

Readings (excerpts):
Julia Kristeva, The Abject

Friday, October 21
Activities at the Fili e Colori daily center.

Introduction to the “alternative guide” project. Presentation of the idea, screening and planning of the collaboration at the Museum of Anthropology or La Specola.

Week 8

Monday, October 24
The concept of Art Brut, relations between the works of psychiatric patients, prisoners, and naive art. Jean Dubufet. Examples of some well-known psychiatric patients’ artwork. Horror vacui. Contemporary art and otherness.

Friday, October 28
Activities at the Fili e Colori daily center.

Collective fieldtrip to Fiesole or Pratolino. Learning about plants and trees. Photographic and drawing activity.


Week 9

MIDTERM BREAK (October 29 - November 6)


Week 10

Monday, November 7
A summary of all lectures and work. Planning the final projects – to be developed individually or as a group. Preparing the proposal for the next meeting at Fili e Colori.

Friday, November 11
Presentation of the proposal at Fili e Colori. Collective planning and scheduling.

Week 11

Monday, November 14
Screening of the film: Suddenly Last Summer, J. Mankiewitz. The theme of Dionysian madness.

Friday, November 18
Activities at the Fili e Colori daily center.

Work on the final collective project.

Week 12

Monday, November 21
Class discussion on the final project.

Friday, November 25
Activities at the Fili e Colori daily center.

Work on the final collective project.

Week 13

Monday, November 28
Class discussion on the final project.

Friday, December
Activities at the Fili e Colori daily center.

Work on the final collective project.

Week 14

Monday, December 2
Class discussion on the final project.

Friday, December 5
Activities at the Fili e Colori daily center.

Work on the final collective project.

Week 15

Presentation of the collective project at the Fili e Colori daily center or in another exhibition venue in Florence.

(Note: this schedule may be subject to voluntary or involuntary change)


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