• Beauty
  • The World Before Our Eyes

    Milford Sound in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park The sum of our own positions on things we value determines the shape and texture of our social lives. This is why contemporary Americans acknowledge the things they find beautiful and talk about them all the time. Our commonality as citizens resides almost exclusively in the world […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Truth, Beauty and Complexity

    Contemplating the Spencer Finch installation at the RISD museum There is a long history in the modernist tradition of assuming the beautiful must be a lie and that ugliness must be evidence of truth. One can understand the origin of this idea in a reaction against ossified academic standards, and simultaneously a revulsion against the […]

  • Beauty
  • Architecture and Beauty, Redux

    At an outdoor temporary pavilion in the main parking lot at the Southern California Institute of Architecture are fellow architects Peter Cook, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Eric Owen Moss and Greg Lynn, where Moss is director. (Rafael Sampaio Rocha / September 26, 2010) I have had Architecture and Beauty: Conversations with Architects about a Troubled Relationship […]

  • Architecture
  • Architecture and Beauty

    Another book that sounds like it is right in my sweet spot: Architecture and Beauty: Conversations with Architects about a Troubled Relationship, by Yael Reisner. Ah, beauty… It continues to be an issue of dispute in every contemporary métier—visual art, music, literature. This topic continues to engage, divide, provoke, perplex. I know a bit about […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Whole Body Seeing

    Brooklyn Workshop Gallery: Paintings by Deborah Barlow and sculpture by Rina Peleg Beautiful imperfection: real beauty is rooted in reality. Give up the pursuit of perfection—visual perfection can be cold and unforgiving. Things yield their value at different rates. Enjoy things that aren’t obviously beautiful, or even a little clumsy, if they engage the senses […]

  • Beauty
  • Expecting Beauty

    Japanese calligraphy, beautiful in its inexplicable mystery (From the LACMA collection) *** Beauty is not a concept. …Beauty harmonizes consciousness from top to bottom. It is as organically vital as digestion. Beauty is, or ought to be, no big deal, though the lack of it is. Without regular events of beauty, we live estranged from […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Beauty is the Hero

    Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Kate Moss modelling for Topshop were cited as contrasting ideals of beauty in a debate on whether or Britain has become indifferent to beauty. Photograph: Corbis/AFP Beauty. A topic that never goes away. I’ve written about it many times on this blog, quoting from some of my favorite books in […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Tara Donovan

    I’ve been a big fan of Tara Donovan for several years, and I am very excited to see her new show at the ICA in Boston this week. I bought the catalog for the show in anticipation, and it is excellent–authored by Nicholas Baume, Jen Mergel and Lawrence Weschler (LW is a particular personal favorite.) […]

  • Beauty
  • Pace and Pitch

    Maybe you are like me. Maybe you too get easily seduced by the pace and pitch of another culture. Whenever I return from being and breathing with fellow humans who don’t speak my language and are refreshingly free of the troubles that plague anyone who lives in this country right now, reentry is a slow […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Ancient Land

    What a relief to spend the last few days in a country that doesn’t have a president named Bush. The cheery Cumbrian men who stopped in to repair a leak in the ceiling listened with patience while we complained about how difficult it is to be an American abroad, and then pointed out that the […]