Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Beauty and Prettiness

Art’s correlation with pretty things is entirely orthogonal. Real art is concerned almost exclusively with beauty. Beauty has a great deal more breadth and depth than prettiness. Prettiness is shallow, cloying, and completely convinced of its own virtue. Prettiness is reducible to simple, mechanical aesthetics. It’s self-assured and emotionally tone-deaf. Beauty is not so simple. It doesn’t need to make an effort. It is its own content. Beauty is a tool for processing the world around us, and it can be found anywhere. It reconciles all of our ugliness with our conscience. It has to strike close to the bone and hurt at least a little bit. That reconciliation is the role and purpose of art.

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