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.
Publisher: Allworth Press
Hardcover : 448 pages