Modern Art as Public Care: Alzheimer's and the Aesthetics of Universal Personhood.

Abstract

This article is based on ethnographic research of the New York Museum of Modern Art's influential Alzheimer's access program, Meet Me at MoMA. The program belongs to an increasingly popular model of psychosocial treatment that promotes art as potentially therapeutic or beneficial to people experiencing symptoms of dementia as well as to their caregivers. Participant observation of the sessions and a series of interviews with museum staff and educators reveal broader assumptions about the relationship between modern art, dementia, and personhood. These assumptions indicate a museological investment in the capacity and perceived interiority of all participants. Ultimately, the program authorizes a narrative of universal personhood that harmonizes with the museum's longstanding focus on temporal and aesthetic modernism.

DOI: 10.1111/maq.12199

Cite this paper

@article{Selberg2015ModernAA, title={Modern Art as Public Care: Alzheimer's and the Aesthetics of Universal Personhood.}, author={Scott A. Selberg}, journal={Medical anthropology quarterly}, year={2015}, volume={29 4}, pages={473-91} }