Taking a long look at Art. Reflections on the context of production and consumption of art in Art Therapy

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Andrea Gilroy


This paper draws on experiences of looking at art to consider the influence of social context on the production and consumption of art in art therapy. I draw on art historical discourses to explore the experience and relate this to looking at art in art therapy. I suggest that professional socialisation profoundly influences how art therapists look and think about what they see. I propose that attention to our tacit knowledge about art, extending art therapy’s practices of looking to include contemporary discourse about audiencing, curating and display, and that taking time for a long look at art and at the art made in art therapy, can enliven and sustain art therapy’s unique ways of seeing.

Keywords: Looking; social context; art therapy; art history; professional socialisation.

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