The New Social Environment#125

Art and Mental Health


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Join us for a conversation with Raphaël Koenig and Thomas Röske to discuss the interconnections between art and mental health, especially focusing on the historical Prinzhorn collection and its heritage, as well as the production of the Yamanami Workshop. The discussion will be led by Choghakate Kazarian. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Krystal Languell.

In this talk

The Prinzhorn collection, housed at the Heidelbeg University Hospital, was created in the 1920s with works made by mental health patients whose production had a long lasting impression on Jean Dubuffet. Founded in 1986, Yamanami Workshop (Shiga Prefecture) constitutes an attempt to improve the living conditions and promote broader acceptance of people with mental disabilities, by providing a supportive environment for participants to develop their artistic practices.

Raphael Koenig

Raphael Koenig

Raphael Koenig is a Research Associate at the Comparative Literature Department at Harvard University, and recently completed a postdoctoral Fellowship at the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is also a graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Sorbonne in Paris.

Raphael’s research focuses on French, German, and Yiddish avant-garde literature and visual culture, more specifically on the interplay between mental health and artistic creation, from the historical avant-gardes’ reception of the “art of the insane” and “art brut” to contemporary art therapy workshops.

With Benny Shaffer, he co-curated Eye Eye Nose Mouth, an exhibition on art therapy workshops in China and Japan (Harvard University Asia Center, 2019). His collaboration with Arthur Fournier was featured at the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts (Crack up – Crack down, 2019, reviewed for the Brooklyn Rail by Osman Can Yerebekan).

Thomas Röske

Thomas Röske
Thomas Röske, Ph.D., is the Director of the Museum Prinzhorn Collection, University Hospital of Heidelberg since 2002 and the President of the European Outsider Art Association since 2012. He teaches regularly at the art historical departments of the universities of Heidelberg and Frankfurt.

Choghakate Kazarian

A portrait of Choghakate Kazarian
Portrait of Choghakate Kazarian by Phong H. Bui
Choghakate Kazarian is a French, Armenian-born curator and art historian interested in post-war and outsider art. She has been curator at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris from 2011 to 2018 and has curated several exhibitions on artists such as Henry Darger, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and Karel Appel. She has edited several exhibition catalogues and published on artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Louis Michel Eilshemius, Stéphane Mandelbaum and those mentioned above. She has a MA in art history from Ecole du Louvre and a MA in philosophy at La Sorbonne. She is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the Courtauld Institute of Art with a dissertation on the American artist Albert Pinkham Ryder. She is Editor-at-large at the Brooklyn Rail.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Krystal Languell reading.

Krystal Languell

Krystal Languell
Krystal Languell lives in Chicago, where she works for the Poetry Foundation. She is also a publisher, an editor, and the author of three books of poetry. She holds a BA from Indiana University and an MFA from New Mexico State University.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.