Bill Beckley

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Uncontrollable Beauty (Aesthetics Today)
by Bill Beckley
Publisher's Description
"Uncontrollable Beauty presents a selection of the most significant essays of our time about this still contested realm of aesthetics. The range of these works is enormous, encompassing Meyer Schapiro's skeptical argument on perfection, contributions from artists as profound as Louise Bourgeois and Agnes Martin, and reflections of critics, curators, and philosophers on the problems of beauty and relativism.
Amazon.com Review
What ever happened to beauty? Since the late 1960s she seems to have been in exile. Postmodern artists traded her in for flirtations with truth, strength, and purity of form. It was then that women started stripping off their heavy makeup and Barbie doll clothing in an effort to gain equal footing with men. And men, anxious too to break some of society's molds, shed their business suits and leisurewear--then the paragons of male beauty. But as art critic Dave Hickey unwittingly predicted during the '80s, that quality--which Plato believed to be eternal and absolute--is the "issue of the '90s."

After three decades of playing wallflower because she was thought by many artists to be frivolous, easy, tired, and even shallow, beauty is dancing again. Uncontrollable Beauty is filled with exciting essays by artists, critics, curators, and philosophers whose definitions of this elusive quality are often at odds with the Platonic ideal. When beauty besets critic Peter Schjeldahl, his mind is "hyperalert," his body eases, and he is often aware of his "shoulders coming down as unconscious muscular tension lets go." Renowned sculptor Louise Bourgeois also experiences beauty as opposed to encountering it: "Beauty is a series of experiences. It is not a noun ... beauty in and of itself does not exist." Artist and coeditor Bill Beckley blames beauty's banishment on Wittgenstein--who, in a 1938 lecture at Cambridge, said that beauty is most often meant as an interjection "similar to Wow! or rubbing one's stomach"--and his undue influence on conceptual artists of the '60s and '70s. Each essay collected here is rigorous in its definition of this elusive yet powerful force in art and aesthetics. Taken together, the writings are an invigorating read for artists and viewers alike.

ISBN: 1880559900
Publisher: Allworth Press
Hardcover : 448 pages
Language: English
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