By virtue of its ubiquity, we all practice moral judgement at some degree long before developing an aptitude for clinical evaluation. Ideas of how a “good” person should look and act, reside within us and subtly impact the way that we perceive those around us. This practice is so deeply ingrained that it can carry over into the clinic, leading well-meaning practitioners to perceive patients both clinically and morally.
We have organized a collection of prints that encourage the viewer to confront the cultural constructs that underlie moral evaluation. In presenting prints from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, we aim to impress upon viewers that the association between health and morality is deeply ingrained within the very fabric of society, and indeed, stretches far beyond the period that our exhibit encompasses. It is our hope that viewers will see the chosen depictions of mental health, illness, and body image not as distant echoes of the past, but rather as preludes to forces that remain substantial in the modern era.