On March 7th, Professor Mark Rollins will offer a walkthrough of the Art and the Mind-Brain exhibition featuring insights and in-depth discussion. This event is not being run by the Skeptical Society, but it seems well worth attending. Here is a description of the exhibition:
"The past decade has seen an explosion of interest in the bearing of cognitive science on the arts. New brain imaging technologies and sophisticated psychological measures have provided insights into the artist’s creative process and the perceiver’s response to art. What goes on in the minds of artists and audiences depends on perception, memory, and thought generally—capacities we ascribe to the brain. This investigation of art elucidates the mind and its relation to the brain; the mind-brain, as it might be called. This research has also led to the development of neuroaesthetics, a new field which addresses questions about beauty, artistic expression, and style in neurological terms.
The Teaching Gallery exhibition Art and the Mind-Brain presents works from the Kemper Art Museum’s collection—by Joseph Albers, Romare Bearden, Georges Braque, Tom Friedman, Naum Gabo, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miró, Rembrandt van Rijn, and others—that give rise to a rich variety of aesthetic experiences, which can be explained in terms of a number of competing theories in cognitive science, revealing important aspects of how we see and think. By encouraging viewers to look at the artworks in a new context, it invites critical reflection on a central principle of neuroaesthetics: that the aesthetic and art historical interest of a work of art can be understood in terms of its power to engage the perceptual and cognitive systems of the brain."