I think the idea of the social construction of beauty - this idea that beauty is simply whatever culture or society says it is - is on the run. Of course, beauty does arise in a cultural context. No one ever denies that. But there's also a natural response people have to it.
The arts, like language, emerged spontaneously and universally in similar forms across cultures, employing imaginative and intellectual capacities that had clear survival value.
Why do humans make art? It's how we evolved.
I try to figure out - intellectually, philosophically, psychologically - what the experience of beauty is.
Beauty is nature’s way of acting at a distance.
[Art] would have helped us survive in the Pleistocene - in the period, say, 1.6 million years ago until fairly recently. The kind of imaginative abilities that artists have and that we all have in the appreciation of art - to appreciate Jane Austen, the late quartets of Beethoven.
The continuous capacity of genius to surpass understanding remains a human constant.
A few years ago, Bill Gates was boasting that we'll soon have sensors which will turn on the music that we like or show on the walls the paintings we like when we walk into a room. How boring! The hell with our preexisting likes; let's expand ourselves intellectually.
Once kitsch is interpreted ironically, it ceases to be kitsch
Dumbing down takes many forms: art that is good for you, museums that flatter you, universities that increase your self-esteem. Culture, after all, is really about you.
Solemnity and a complete absence of irony also mark kitsch.
Salvador Dali has been called kitsch, but, although some of this work may be grotesque, its brazenly self-conscious bad taste saves it from being true kitsch, which always strives to please.
It's a grave mistake in publishing, whether you're talking about Internet or print publication, to try to play to a limited repertoire of established reader interests.
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