The Living Museum is a Movement
The Living Museum is a movement dedicated to the dissemination of art-asylums for mentally ill people, modelled on the first Living Museum in Queens, New York. Authentic art is created and exhibited at the same time. It is dedicated to the beauty of art and healing. The aim is to change identity from the mentally ill to the artist in an atmosphere of community, solidarity and creativity. This movement is supported by the Living Museum Society Switzerland.
was founded in
The Living Museum was founded in 1983 by Janos Marton, a Hungarian artist and psychologist, and Bolek Greczynski, an artist from Poland. They were influenced by the European art breeding scene, e.g. the Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg and the House of Artists in Gugging in Klosterneuburg near Vienna.
As a building for the Living Museum, Marton and Greczynski were provided with an abandoned
restoration building by the clinic management of the Creedmoor Psychiatric
Center in Queens, New York, on the extensive hospital grounds.
It formerly housed a huge kitchen and 20 dining rooms for 1000 patients. They renovated it
and gradually filled it with life and art.
The Living Museum is an Artistic Concept
The Living Museum Concept is perceived as the fourth great revolution in the history of psychiatry from the end of the 18th century – after the liberation of the mentally ill from chains by Philippe Pinel, the introduction of psychotropic drugs and psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freund and C.G. Jung.
The Living Museum as an artistic concept is based on a performance in which everything is changing and in perpetual transformation. Both the members and the artworks are growing. Individual characteristics that make you an outsider in society are celebrated in the Living Museum and offer an advantage in the creation of art.
The high artistic potential of people who have had extreme psychological experiences is appreciated and shown to the public in exhibitions. The Living Museum reverses the prevailing idea of integration: not the mentally ill should reintegrate themselves into society, but society should integrate itself into the Living Museum and be healed from there. The Living Museum concept offers ways of healing, a high quality of life, is cost-efficient and requires few care personnel.