Apr 6, 2006 through Aug 6, 2006
Perhaps in no other American city is the idea of psychoanalysis more deeply engrained in the psyche than in New York. The fabled neuroses, paranoia, and emotional melodramas of the city have been amusing fodder for books, movies, and comedians for decades. It is only natural that the treatment of these conditions be joked about as well. As a result, besides being a serious business, the practice of psychotherapy has proved an irresistible object for humor.
The New Yorker published its first cartoon poking fun at Sigmund Freud’s psychotherapy methods in 1927, and its cartoonists have since repeatedly revisited the practice through the lens of their own times. More than any other magazine, The New Yorker developed the codes and iconography of the therapy setting: the bearded analyst, the diplomas on the wall, and, of course, the couch. Not to mention its neurotic occupants.
On the Couch: Cartoons from The New Yorker spans nearly 80 years of preoccupation – one might even say obsession – with what happens in a therapist’s office. This assemblage of some 75 New Yorker cartoons depicts, as the magazine’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff puts it, “the shrink and the shrunk, the practitioner and the practiced upon.” Featured artists include Peter Arno, Roz Chast, J.C. Duffy and B.E. Kaplan.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog of cartoons published by the Cartoonbank, a division of The New Yorker magazine, and the Austrian Cultural Forum. On the Couch: Cartoons from The New Yorker is presented in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Freud’s birth and was made possible by the generous support of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.