Robert Bilder

Robert Bilder is a professor at the Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity.  He received a bachelors degree from Columbia College of Columbia University in Biology and Psychology (1978), and a Ph.D. in Psychology from City College, City University of New York, where he specialized in human neuropsychology (1984).

Salvador Dali was definitely one of the most technically skilled painters.  And from the creative point of view he was also one of the most stimulating of the 20th  century. In an interview he said: “I’m a very bad painter, because I’m too intelligent to be a good painter. To be a good painter you’ve got to be a bit stupid”. Is there some truth in this statement? In fact to be creative, it is not necessary to have an above-average intelligence.

It is provocative but not true. Some believe that there is a modest correlation of creativity with intelligence but only up to a certain point (like IQ = 120) and then there’s no correlation.

António Damásio has said that there are human activities that are not essential for the our development and genetic transmission, but that are very important for our well-being. Art is a good example. There is a long discussion about whether architecture is closer to Arts or Science. Some say that it is a functional art. However, when the first cabin was built I imagine that this may have been a starting point for an evolutionary genetic modification (related to the sedentarism, agricultural activities, etc.). Looking at this ambiguity, it may be said that the architecture is closer to the notion of an activity for the homeostatic state or is it an activity that is “simply” essential to social welfare?

It seems to me that Architecture has been a critical element in human survival and success as a species. I also think that it continues to drive creative expression. I hope future successes of our species.


Can you remember a unique spatial experience that has touched you in a way?

That happens to me everyday. For example, I can see the Getty Museum from my neighborhood and it is always inspiring. Our new hospital at UCLA was designed by I.M. Pei and that also has a great feel in the lobby.


Getty Museum – ©Lisa Taliana


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