17 November 2010

Am I cuckoo?...

Two things come to mind when I think of  the word Asylum...The 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Alexander McQueen's 2001 Spring show. . . where McQueen glamorized the confinement of a mental institution with four mirrored walls, models with bandaged heads and well...an impeccable couture collection.

And so because of the terrorizing yet inviting notion of an asylum, this past weekend,  I chose to add to my library Christopher Payne's book, Asylum: Inside the closed world of state mental hospitals.  But really why? . . . because it is a gorgeous photography book and because I truly support the documentation of the forgotten.  Lunatic asylums (mental hospitals, institutions, state hospitals)...they went from being a refuge, a sanctuary, a benevolent institution to abandoned ruins or simply grotesque places.  I highly recommend you buy this book or at least browse through it. The photographs below are details from some of Payne's images.

a) Alexander McQueen's 2001 Spring Show. (Not included in Christopher Payne's book)
b) Straightjacket, Logansport State Hospital, Indiana.  
c) Patient Dresses, Clarinda State Hospital, Iowa.
d) Typical Ward, Buffalo State Hospital, New York.  
e) Files, Spring Grove State Hospital, MD.
f) Linen Closets, Traverse City State Hospital, MI.  
g) Unclaimed Cremation Urns, Oregon State Hospital, Oregon.
h) Autopsy Theater, St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, DC.  
i)  Joel-Peter Witkin, "Sanitarium" 1983. (Not included in Christopher Payne's book)

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