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What is Art? : Beauty

February 3, 2009


Discarded news paper Copyright 2009 Bryan Moore

Discarded news paper Copyright 2009 Bryan Moore

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  a phase that is said when you disagree with some one but don’t really want to debate the point.  Art servers very few purposes but one of them is, art has to be beautiful.  

Now I know there are some people saying now  Oh thats not true art  can convey more then just beauty. This I will agree art should be able to convey every or any emotion that the artist wants, but even a piece  that makes you feel completely sad should be beautiful at its core.  


as an example I have pulled this image  by Joel Peter Witken one of the most shoking photographers I can think of 


Joel peter witkens photograph "The Kiss"

Joel peter witkens photograph "The Kiss"

Witken photographs people with deformities, but is most famous for his work useing corpses. We can all agree  that this image is shocking and makes viewers feel every  thing that is the opposite of beauty, but is the picture ugly or just the subject matter?  subject matter can be tragic, humorus, uplifting  or just simply beautiful in its self, but art is not just its subject mater, Its the way its shown to us by the artist.  if you look past the fact that they are severed heads  you will see a beautifully crafted still life.  Witkin’s photographs are  skillfully set up still lifes and scenes  which use the shock value of  taboo subject  to draw  the viewer in.  Watkin adds scratches and misc marks to his negatives to  inhance the idea of his old world still lifes, that if replaced by fruit bowls would be comparable with oldschool masters.  I my self am not a huge fan of  Witkin  but I can see the beauty in what he creates and I respect him for his work.

I am sure  many of you are still looking at it trying to see some form of beauty in a skull split in half  so for an example that is a little easier to view….   


starry night by Van Gogh

starry night by Van Gogh

the image above is a close up section of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”  one of his most famous works and a reccomend go see at MOMA if you vist NYC.  Starry night is one of arts great painting but what sets it appart from other night scenes  that were painted through the years is Van Gogh’s  brush strokes.  the swirls of paint that fill the sky in this painting are layered thick adding a new demention to the piece  if  Van Gogh had painted  this  just flat on the canvas it wouldn’t have near the impact it does.  so in this case Yes the subject matter is beautiful  and it makes it easier to look at and notice the things that truly make it beautiful.


What is Great art?  Great art is beautiful not becuase the subject matter is beautiful but b/c the artist saw some thing and the way he/she  depicts his/her vision, is done with such skill that its takes you to the place it was created and allows you to feel  what the artist wanted to feel. so next time you are out don’t judge a art piece by its subject matter judge it on all its parts and I am sure you will find something beautiful  you never saw before.


What is Art? : Intro

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2009 2:48 am

    This all goes back to the classic question of “What is Art?” According to Marcel Duchamp, he claimed art was “whatever the artist deemed as art, was art” Here’s one of his famous pieces, actually a shovel that he bought at a store and titled “In advancement of the Broken Arm”. Try finding the beauty in this (it is a nice shovel):

  2. theindecisivemoment permalink*
    February 4, 2009 1:43 pm

    To me this isn’t art or if you do argree with duchamp that every thing is art I would say it is not good art. The background to this piece is interesting in the fact that before moving to america he had never seen a snow shovel before. So to him maybe it was an amazing and a beautiful thing to find something that could help clear the snow like that. One of the major problems is he didn’t make that shovel or design anything about it. Just finding a mass produced item is not art. although I will agree it is a nice shovel but its still just a shovel

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