Works of art need not be beautiful for us to consider them important.We need only think of Marcel Duchamp’s “readymade” urinal that he flipped on its side, signed with a false name, and submitted to the exhibition of the newly founded Society of Independent Artists in New York in 1917.Oscar Wilde was, perhaps, the consummate Aesthete - famed as much for his wit as for his foppish dress and his love of peacock feathers, sun flowers and objets d’art.
Works of art need not be beautiful for us to consider them important.We need only think of Marcel Duchamp’s “readymade” urinal that he flipped on its side, signed with a false name, and submitted to the exhibition of the newly founded Society of Independent Artists in New York in 1917.Tags: Research Papers On Pearl HarborDissertation Paper QualityResearch Proposal FormatsTwe Essay RatingUniversity Of Washington ThesisHarlem Renaissance Research PaperEcology Topics For Research PaperArgumentative Essay About Advertising
The queerness of aesthetes like Wilde was dangerously transgressive, and the pursuit of beauty provided a zone in which to challenge the heteronormative foundations of conservative society, just as Darwin’s radical theories had challenged Christian beliefs of the origins of humankind.
Wilde’s legacy was continued by a new generation of young aristocrats at a time of cultural crises between the two World Wars.
Art critics and historians have a difficult time dealing with beauty.
We are trained from early on that the analysis of a work of art relies on proof, those things that we can point to as evidence.
Over time, the term “aesthete” began to take on new meanings as a euphemism for the effete Oxford intellectual.
Men like Wilde were an open threat to acceptable gender norms—the pursuit of beauty, both in the adoration of beautiful things, and in the pursuit of personal appearances, was deemed unmanly.The problem with beauty is that it’s almost impossible to describe.To describe the beauty of an object is like trying to explain why something’s funny — when it’s put into words, the moment is lost.When she is emotional and empathic, she is at risk of being called hysterical.Likewise, a man who works in the beauty industry — a make-up artist, fashion designer, hairdresser, or interior designer — might be mocked for being effete and superficial.We only need to look to the tasteless comments made about Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson to see evidence of that today.By the 1880s, many caricatures were published of a flamboyant Wilde as a cultivated aesthete.We can uncover her choices—the mix of predetermination and instinct of a maker in the flow of creation.It is not our cultural differences that strike me when I look at this painting. My felt response to this work does not answer questions of particular cultures or histories. I am aware of a beautiful object offered up by its maker, who surely felt the beauty of her creation just as I do. I am not saying that works of art ought to be beautiful.For Wilde and his followers, the work of art — whether it be a poem, a book, a play, a piece of music, a painting, a dinner plate, or a carpet — should only be judged on the grounds of beauty.They considered it an utterly vulgar idea that art should serve any other purpose.