Art: Pictures at An Institution

Some mournful images from a mental hospital

In the perspectives of history, the mad have not been out of sight for very long. As recently as 1800, they were tourist attractions. Every Sunday thousands of paying visitors would go to watch them caper and babble in Bethlehem Hospital ("Bedlam") in London or the Bicetre in Paris. In the 19th century, philanthropy suppressed that, and shame closed the asylums to view, so that insanity was not only confined but also hidden. Our own culture, despite its vast interest in neurosis, has not been able to forgive its madmen their lunacy. Thus the...

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