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Catharsis in Art

The way art heals is through catharsis, not by painting pretty, well designed innocuous stuff. Catharsis in art began in Greece where they used drama in that way. People went to the theatre not to be entertained but to experience a catharsis, a purification and purgation of emotions—particularly pity and fear that resulted in spiritual renewal and restoration.

Truth Is Beauty

A picture of a woman touching the legs of a large sculpture piece at the Renwick Gallery.

Miyah Powe interacting with „Truth is Beauty“ at the Renwick Gallery for No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man. Photo by Libby Weiler.

“What would the world be like if women were truly safe?” This is the question Marco Cochrane challenges both male and female audiences to consider when viewing his sculptureTruth is Beauty. The sculpture – a woman on her toes, stretched backwards – is made from stainless steel and mesh. I was surprised to learn that the 18-foot figure in the Renwick Gallery is a replica of the 55-foot original that stood at Burning Man in 2013 (and it’s still nearly four times my height!). When I entered the Burning Man exhibit at the Renwick, I was immediately drawn to the figure that nearly touched the ceiling. Truth is Beauty is the largest object in the room; the Amazonian figure towered over other museumgoers and other works around it. I was instantly overwhelmed, first, by the sheer size of the sculpture.

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