Political Therapy

Workshop with Liz Magic Laser and Valerie Bell

Saturday, November 10, 2018
5:00 – 6:30 pm

Frye Galleries

In this workshop we will use Primal Therapy and meditation techniques to elicit the connections between our personal experiences and political beliefs. Artist Liz Magic Laser and Certified Professional Life Coach Valerie Bell will guide participants through activities that facilitate the expression of frustrations related to the 2018 midterm elections and other current events.

Developed by psychologist Arthur Janov in the 1970s, Primal Therapy was a radical approach that involved abreaction, the cathartic re-experiencing of a traumatic event. Laser and Bell adapt this palliative method of clarifying emotional expression into effective communication, offering it as a means toward embodied political discourse. Therapeutic props such as pillows and stuffed animals based on political party logos can be hit or embraced in Laser’s version of political Primal Therapy.

Please wear loose clothing.

Liz Magic Laser (b. 1981, New York) is a Brooklyn, New York, based artist who works in performance and video. Her work intervenes in semi-public spaces such as bank vestibules, movie theaters and newsrooms, and has involved collaborations with actors, surgeons, political strategists and motorcycle gang members. In her recent work, Laser uses communication techniques and psychological methods appropriated by corporate and political cultures in order to revive their therapeutic potential. Her work has been shown at Metro Pictures, New York (2018) Mälmo Konsthall, Sweden (2017) the Swiss Institute (2016); at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2015); at Lisson Gallery, London (2013); the Performa 11 Biennial, New York (2011); and MoMA PS 1, New York (2010) among others. Last year she had solo exhibitions at CAC Brétigny, Jupiter Artland, Scotland and Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam (2017). In early 2018 Laser was awarded the Lead Commission for “The Future World of Work” program at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool, UK. Most recently she presented a commissioned daily performance and video installation at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2018).

Valerie Bell is a Certified Professional Life Coach, teacher, and actor based in New York City and upstate New York. She has performed on stage and TV in New York and New England. Valerie holds degrees in Theater and Philosophy and The Arts from Bennington College and the New School for Social Research, and certifications from the Integrated Feeling Therapy Center and the Open Center's Coaching for Transformation Program. She is a member of the International Coach Federation and has been working for over 10 years with clients privately and through the Integrated Feeling Therapy Center. Valerie continues her 30+ years teaching English for the City University of New York, illuminating prejudice and inspiring perseverance in her classes.

Liz Magic Laser. Primal Speech, 2016. Single channel video installation, dimensions variable. Photo: Ruth Clark. Courtesy of the artist, Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam.


This program is free but space is limited; advance registration is required. This workshop is offered on two dates, November 10 and November 11, 2018; please register for a single date only. Questions? Call 206 432 8200 or email rsvp@fryemuseum.org