Can art cure what ails you?

Imagine sitting in a doctor’s office, describing your latest ailment. She or he takes notes, then writes out an appropriate prescription and hands it to you.

It reads “Picasso: blue period.”


Suffering from hay fever? Monet’s haystacks are just what you need.

This is close to what someone might experience if they walked into the clinic of “Art Healing Ministry” in New York City, run by conceptual artist Alexander Melamid.

The New York Times recenty profiled the clinic, and the doctor/patient experience:

While the patient reclined, Mr. Melamid sat in a chair under a portrait of himself and took notes on a clipboard. He wanted to know specifics about the patient’s malady, and about any museums he had visited recently. Told that the patient had been looking at a lot of Whistlers, he nodded and said, “Not enough masterpieces.”

After a moment, he said: “This anxiety of yours is a very typical problem of modern man. And woman. And everything in between. My function is to help you see the right things.”

He went on to explain that a lot of visual information was bad for the patient. “So when you go to a museum,” he continued, “you have to be very discreet. You don’t want overexposure — that’s as dangerous as to take too many medicines. Art needs to be taken in moderation and according to a specialist who can prescribe the right dosage.”

Clicking through a series of paintings on the small computer screen, he stopped at a Cézanne and said: “If you have hay fever, you go to see Claude Monet, that’s for sure. For your problem I would recommend Paul Cézanne. When you go to the museum, don’t look around much. Go direct to Paul Cézanne. It’s very powerful painting, but in a way it’s also pacifying.”

According to news channel NY1, the clinic also offers “art water chargers” in which the water is charged by the artwork inside the bottle; “Botticelli water” and “Lichtenstein water” are both available.

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