Laura Miller transcends herself with a pretty good review of a book about clinical depression. The review jumps right into popular conceptions of depressed artists:
[The author] complains about museum curators who treat an artist’s gloomier works as more important than those celebrating "exuberance, appetite, an appreciation of the exquisite in the ordinary," using the vaunting of Picasso’s "blue period" over his erotic drawings as an example. Likewise — and to escape for a moment Kramer’s manifold references to the mandarin works of classical and high modernist art and literature — consider that the Academy Award for best picture rarely goes to a comedy. While scientists, historians and anyone with direct experience of depression’s crippling listlessness can make pretty short work of the canard that depressives are unusually creative, it’s undeniable that we usually consider bleak and somber art more significant than pieces that are vital and joyous.
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