Book Launch: Art as Therapy

The book Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton & John Armstrong will be launched at the NGV on Wednesday 16th October.

About the Book

A critique, a call to action and a practical guide, in Art as Therapy renowned philosopher and best-selling author Alain de Botton tackles the too often-ignored question, ‘what is art for?’ Alain de Botton and co-author, art historian John Armstrong, propose a provocative new methodology for engaging with art, one that encourages us to look to art for guidance on living better lives. de Botton and Armstrong argue that we need to approach art armed with the question, ‘how can this cater to my inner needs?’  Putting forward the radical proposition that the true purpose of art is to teach us how to become better lovers, citizens and friends, featuring chapters on Love, Nature, Money and Politics.

At the heart of ART AS THERAPY is de Botton and Armstrong’s appeal for a more practical, ‘people friendly’ vision of art. Going on to question what counts as good art and why, de Botton and Armstrong argue that a therapeutic reading of art should sit alongside more traditional readings that focus on historical context, political meaning or technical skill.  With examples that range from Picasso to Michelangelo and from Cindy Sherman to Francis Bacon, ART AS THERAPY features 150 outstanding works of art, architecture and design, and demonstrates how they can help us with everyday difficulties, from forging good relationships to finding happiness and coming to terms with mortality.

An international tour by Alain de Botton, planned for autumn 2013, will include the USA and UK. ‘Art as Therapy’ exhibitions are planned for the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in 2014.

Alain de Botton (b.1969) 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.

John Armstrong (b.1966) 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.

Date: 6 for 6:30pm, 16th October

Speaker John Armstrong, philosophical art historian

Cost Free

Venue Theatre, NGV Australia (enter via atrium)

Bookings: Ph +61 3 8662 1555, 10am-5pm daily  Code P13106