In a speech on art not very long before he died (in a book translated into English as 'Picasso's Mask'), Malraux classified beauty as one of four concepts that makes our contemporary relationship with art ‘unintelligible'. (The others were: vision (in the sense of the artist’s special way of 'seeing' the world), nature, and expression.) Malraux was not shy of throwing out challenges to aesthetics!
If you saw that photo on the white walls of a prestigious art gallery would you say that you understood that it was art because it was beautiful.
Is it beautiful?
Another thought. One can argue that works of art contain some truth of their own and that the only appropriate way of dealing with them would be to enforce that truth. We can regard a work of art is a cognitive medium; there is something to be known, something to be learned from it about historical reality -- hence the task of understanding it as well as the history of its reception. The expression of private feelings of pleasure or disapproval has little to do with the truth core attributed to the work of art within the Romantic tradition.
  Nicole Eisenman, Untitled (kisses), 1996, lipstick and gouache on magazine page


Jan Saudek, In the Fine Art Gallery, 2001

    Beauty today is no long a transcendent Form. It means glamour; the glamour of the fashionable jet set. The Platonic Form--Beauty--has been commodified in the society of the spectacle.
Beauty - It is often thought that aesthetic value is beauty. We have attempts to resurrect beauty as a blanket term for aesthetic merit. Should beauty be identified with aesthetic merit? Not all works of art lay a claim to beauty. Nor do we commend a work of art just because it is beautiful. It may be erotic, profound, challenging, innovative:----as with the work by William Robinson
Through my art I am encouraging the viewer to feel something about the object they are viewing, whether it be recognition, familiarity, curiosity, empathy, happiness or horror.
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