Today there are those who associate it with the frivolous and the unimportant. Especially in light of all those urgent matters that afflict us, they say, and which remain still unresolved. Alas, there will always be things unresolved. Burning ones, to be sure. Poverty, injustice, solitude, despair the fear these things beget are indeed the engine of the world. Beauty is there not to make us forget or overlook these fears, but to help us embrace, or at the very least cope with them. By dread I m inspired, by fear I m amused, says a troubadour who knows his business. Beauty is too large a philosophical conundrum to even worry about it, others say. The monster of knowledge terrifies them, and rightly so. Knowledge, which once was meant to free us from the pains of superstition and the abuses of tyrants, has now acquired the status of a duty. It is the pursuit of knowledge as an ever more compartmentalized set of institutional practices as a mechanical activity increasingly devoid of curiosity that has slowly ruled out the serenity necessary for the individual to learn, and to learn well. Beauty, too, has in this sense become an object of knowledge, rather than joy, or reflection. To discuss beauty is to unbury the dead, many may still think. It was the work of the last century to put her underground, and it is there where she shall remain. After all, one hears them say, cultural practices concerned with aesthetics have now far more fundamental problems to deal with. The next biennale in some exotic, formerly poor destination, for one. Such and such temporary installation for juvenile professionals, for another. We know that behind these views there is not a little anxiety manifested. For beauty is no easy matter to recognize, let alone to achieve. And it is not so precisely because we cannot rely on past times to lend us their own sensibility and sense of beauty. Quite the contrary, it is the task of every period to find its own. It is much easier to decide outright that everything about the garb of an age is absolutely ugly, Baudelaire words still resonate, than to devote oneself to the task of distilling from it the mysterious element of beauty that it may contain, however slight or minimal that element may be. But the fear of failure paralyzes us, or makes us move endlessly, aimlessly. It is the sign of the times. And yet, one wonders, what is time for, if not to play tricks on it?
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description GSAPP Books, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition. 96 pages. 9.00x6.30x0.50 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 1883584930