Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Fascinating and poignant article in today's NYT about an artist who painted self-portraits to document the progression of his Alzheimer's. Be sure to check out the slideshow; by the end of the sequence he's barely even recognizable as a person.

The first thing I thought of was the cat art of Louis Wain, and William Kurelek's incredible, Bosch-like painting, The Maze, two dramatic examples of the profound effect that mental disorders can have on the creative process. And yes, they both were in that Time-Life book on The Mind - what of it?

Anyway, I don't really have a point, except that I think this sort of thing is really cool, but at the same time I feel kind of ghoulish and guilty for doing so.


charley said...

avedon took photos of his father in his declining days.

i believe he was rather critisized for it, as they are somewhat severe.

death ain't pretty, but it's a legitimate subject.

and actually, there is a certain beauty about it.

charley said...

i guess you were really talking about crazy more than death.

i've a great cat book, where i first learned of louis wain.

i've worked with alzheimers patients, and for the most part they are on their way out. schizophrenics too, i think they just wish there was a way out.

Eli said...

I would not voluntarily trade my mental faculties for creativity, ever. But the work of those who choose (or are compelled) to be creative in the midst of mental disorder or outright collapse can be eerily fascinating.