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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: The Maas Maze
Date: 1971
Medium: Mixed media on panel
Dimensions: Image: 35 3/4 x 47 3/4 inches (90.8 x 121.3 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Professor James B. Maas
Object Number: 86.073
Label Text: When James Maas taught at Cornell, he sent thousands of his introduction to psychology students (sometimes seventeen hundred in one semester!) to the Johnson to see and write about the painting by William Kurelek that he had commissioned, The Maas Maze. When Kurelek was twenty-six, he sought psychiatric treatment in England, where art therapy was long established. Doctors, several of whom were also collectors, encouraged Kurelek to communicate through art. In 1969, Kurelek wrote:

The Maze is a painting of the inside of my skull....
It is a story of my life, well in the sense that people tell stories by the fireplace to entertain their guests, trying to make them accept you. In this case I wanted to be accepted, as an interesting specimen.

Kurelek carefully told stories as “everyman and visionary,” painting scenes of childhood memories, the agrarian lifestyle, and later works with didactic religious themes. ("This is no Less Curious: Journeys through the Collection" cocurated by Sonja Gandert, Alexandra Palmer, and Alana Ryder and presented at the Johnson Museum January 24 - April 12, 2015)

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.