Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: You can request more content in your language…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Would you like more of PEP’s content in your own language?  We encourage you to talk with your country’s Psychoanalytic Journals and tell them about PEP Web.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Spitz, E.H. (1982). Reflections on Form and Content in Modern Art. Psychoanal. St. Child, 37:547-568.

Welcome to PEP Web!

Viewing the full text of this document requires a subscription to PEP Web.

If you are coming in from a university from a registered IP address or secure referral page you should not need to log in. Contact your university librarian in the event of problems.

If you have a personal subscription on your own account or through a Society or Institute please put your username and password in the box below. Any difficulties should be reported to your group administrator.


Can't remember your username and/or password? If you have forgotten your username and/or password please click here and log in to the PaDS database. Once there you need to fill in your email address (this must be the email address that PEP has on record for you) and click "Send." Your username and password will be sent to this email address within a few minutes. If this does not work for you please contact your group organizer.

OpenAthens or federation user? Login here.

Not already a subscriber? Order a subscription today.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 37:547-568

Reflections on Form and Content in Modern Art

Ellen Handler Spitz

… each new environment must open to us, if we allow it to educate our perception, a new wealth of beautiful forms.

MODERN ART IN MANY MEDIA HAS FORCED US TO ENLARGE our traditional notions of aesthetics. Can we use the customary dichotomous categories of form and content to deal with the painting of Jackson Pollock, the music of Elliott Carter, the choreography of Merce Cunningham? Psychoanalysis has offered at least three approaches to understanding works of art, all of which bear upon the question of form and content, and all of which have, I believe, a contribution to make toward our understanding of modern art.

A prior question might be asked about what sort of dialogue is possible between psychoanalysis and aesthetics. In his paper on the integration of philosophical and psychoanalytic aesthetics, Friedman (1958) speaks of the need for promoting "a conversation between philosophy and psychoanalysis." In his view, the philosopher and psychoanalyst approach the aesthetic from different places: traditionally, the philosopher begins either with concepts of beauty or art which he works back to particular sources, or he localizes the aesthetic fact or object whose properties he attempts to describe and from which he then infers more general principles. The psychoanalyst, however, according


Ph.D. candidate in aesthetics, Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Teachers College, Columbia University; Special Candidate, Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, Columbia University.

I wish to express my appreciation to Professors Richard Kuhns, Maxine Greene, Mary Mothersill, and John Broughton of Columbia University.

- 547 -

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2017, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.