The Frenzied Dance of Art and Violence

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2022-04-05
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $40.52

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Some artists have an inclination towards violence, with art helping to mitigate or redirect their destructive energy. For others, their art helps them gain power over or make sense of violent environs. Finally, for some violent perpetrators, art simply mirrors and even perpetuates their
psychopathic cycles. Through it all, The Frenzied Dance of Art and Violence explores - and seeks to understand - these interrelated paths of destruction and creation.

To inform this dynamic, Dr. David E. Gussak relies on various psychological and sociological perspectives of violence and aggression. Beginning with brief psychobiographies of violent artists, such as Caravaggio, Cellini, Pollock, and Dali, and those whose work emerged from violence, such as Goya,
Beckmann, Picasso, and Vann Nath, among others, Gussak illustrates a potent dual nature of art-making: as a way to mitigate violent inclinations and as a tool to regain control amidst turmoil. From here, the book provides an in-depth look at our society's fascination with the products of violent
perpetrators in the form of murderabilia, as the art of serial killers such as Gacy, Manson, and Rolling finds its way to art collections, feeding into perpetrators' narcissism and psychopathy. The book concludes with Gussak's reflections from his thirty years as an art therapist working with
violent offenders on how art can be used as a therapeutic tool to assuage violence and aggression and promote peace in volatile situations. The Frenzied Dance of Art and Violence is a far-reaching and thought-provoking examination of the competing and complex impulses motivating artwork and those
who make it.

Author Biography

David E. Gussak, PhD, ATR-BC is Professor for the Florida State University's Graduate Art Therapy Program and the Project Coordinator for the FSU/FL Dept of Correction's Art Therapy in Prisons program. As an art therapist for almost 30 years, Dr. Gussak has presented and published extensively
internationally and nationally on forensic art therapy and art therapy in forensic settings. These include, among others, Art on Trial (2015) and Art and Art Therapy with the Imprisoned (2019). He is also the co-editor, with Dr. Marcia Rosal, and contributing author for The Wiley Handbook of Art
Therapy (2015).

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