Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why beauty in art is important

Philosopher Roger Scruton presents a provocative essay on the importance of beauty in the arts and in our lives. In the 20th century, Scruton argues, art, architecture and music turned their backs on beauty, making a cult of ugliness and leading us into a spiritual desert. The link is to the page on the iPlayer.
Beauty is not popular among professional architects, just as the pursuit of beauty is not popular among visual artists: it suggests costly sacrifices, and a scaling down of pretensions for the sake of people whom they don't need to know. But the controversy over modern architecture remains real and important: for it reflects the need of ordinary people that appearances be respected, so that the place where they find themselves can also be shared as a home.

He crystallized some thoughts for me - I've always felt uneasy with art that has to assert it's own artistic relevance. I've always thought that true art doesn't need to be declared as such - a working man (who didn't go to St Martins!) should be able to recognize something that has artistic worth, he doesn't need Messrs Hirst and the Chapmans to tell him.
Whilst I was watching I did a Twitter search and was surprised how aggressive the people who disagreed with his thesis are - they just insult him rather than address what he's saying. I've stuck a quick sample at the end - some make for strong reading!
I suppose anybody who stands against an accepted orthodoxy gets flack - maybe it strengthens what he says!

emberson @Archispeak ....and as for Scruton and his cronies.....the talking dead?
sunwukung Roger Scruton in an unbearable old fart.
purpleparoxysm "as meaningless as a laugh, shout or smile" - i think that's your fundamental problem Scruton. What a twat and what an 'ugly' man & mind.
maty0609 Roger Scruton, get out of my face...This is rubbish you're saying...
Me-cold_2_normal Benjihotaylor Roger Scruton doesn't half talk a load of crap!
davidTrussler Ideas themselves cannot be beautiful, according to Roger Scruton, thus dismissing all Conceptual Art. Totally reactionary rubbish.
Daviesstock Watching some pretentious high-brow intellectual masturbating on the nature of Beauty, presented by Roger Scrotum, er, I mean Scruton...
NiteWaves roger scruton is a boring old cunt
danielnothing Roger Scruton: an arsehole?
unityzer0 fuck you Roger Scruton.
magnetite I think Duchamp's bog IS beautiful, Scruton you cock.

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