A collection of paintings, drawings and non sequiturs. Thanks for looking!

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

"The Cult of Ugliness"

I just came across a 'video rant' by artist Scott Burdick, that I wanted to share.

The basic premise of his rant rests on the notion that a work of art must have 'inherent value', that it must be 'beautiful'.

He doesn't outline any concrete definitions of beauty, but he certainly does have a bone to pick with the art establishment. Mr. Burdick wags his frustrated finger at those critics and curators who are responsible for the 'cult of ugliness' that according to him, dominates our contemporary art world.

This is a rather loaded topic, but I thought I'd put it out there...

So: does art have to be beautiful?

Please discuss.

Oh, and here's a little preview of what I've been working on.

Virginia, oil on board 8x8" 2010 sold


  1. Beauty, like any concept, must be determined based upon a series of factors. Of course we have traditional means of defining key concepts, dictionary and what not. When we look a bit deeper beneath that surface, however, we see that so many other factors define how it is that we conceptualize such a loaded term.

    The status quo, or whatever it is that you may call it, tells us that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That eye, however, has been witness to many different experiences née of living daily life.

    My only thought is to say that I believe (perhaps temporarily) that beauty truly is a combination of whatever each individual defines it. We may say that "Hollywood" or "pop culture" have influenced the way we traditionally think of beauty. True. However past the age of pure adolescence where one is aptly unable to think beyond the end of one's nose - as we become adults and for most of us having capacity enough to distinguish our own opinions -

    As for art, and it being beautiful. For one not skilled in the mores of what constitutes beautiful art or not, I simply like what I like. I stand in a gallery, peering with admiration, confused, enticed. So art needs to be beautiful to me. And me alone.

    Until I decide to share my opinion with others. Of course and likewise.

    Beauty is ...

  2. Dear Globe and Barrel,

    Your astute and sincere observations on the question of 'beauty' are much appreciated!

    I completely agree that beauty is something which is beheld by the mind's eye, formed by what we have seen/felt/lived in the past.

    What I constantly wonder about is whether there is a fundamental root concept of 'beauty'; one that goes beyond culture, language, aesthetic preference, and the like...