Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Asylums Where Architecture Was Designed to Cure


Installation view of ‘Asylum’ at Benrubi Gallery, with postcards from the asylums
(photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

In the 19th century psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride oversaw the construction of institutions inspired by the curative power of architecture. Airy and brightly lit corridors were surrounded by open space and farms, encouraging an active lifestyle as a treatment for mental illness. As medicine progressed in the 20th century the Kirkbrides became obsolete.

Christopher Payne “Lobby of Mead Building, Yankton State Hospital,South Dakota”(2008)
(© Christopher Payne/courtesy Benrubi Gallery, NYC)

Christopher Payne, “Toothbrushes, Hudson River State Hospital Poughkeepsie, New York”
(2005) (© Christopher Payne/courtesy Benrubi Gallery, NYC)

Christopher Payne, “Straightjacket, Logansport State Hospital, Logansport,Indiana”(2007)
(© Christopher Payne/courtesy Benrubi Gallery, NYC)


From 2002 to 2008, photographer Christopher Payne visited Kirkbride hospitals in over 30 states. Asylum, a show at Benrubi Gallery in NYC, showcases some of his photographs, which were previously published in the 2009 Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals from MIT Press.
More here

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