Beauty and Morality

When we first see the elephant man without his burlap mask in David Lynch's 1980 film, our first impression is that he is ugly. We then come to understand throughout the movie that he is a beautiful person. This extreme example represents the confusion in which we often find ourselves between morality and beauty. People … Continue reading Beauty and Morality

Negative Aesthetic Concepts

Aesthetic experiences are powerful. They can help us remember particular moments by creating a sensual account in our memory. But they can also help us when we are describing an amazing experience, situation, or object to someone else. Basically, the aesthetic aspects we encounter enhance whatever else we may be experiencing. Sometimes it is the … Continue reading Negative Aesthetic Concepts

Can Beauty Save the World?

I remember hearing that Dostoevsky, in his book The Idiot, has a character utter the expression, "Beauty will save the world." I immediately liked this expression, if for no other reason than hoping it might be true. Years later, I finally got around to read The Idiot. I kept waiting with anticipation for the famous line … Continue reading Can Beauty Save the World?

Quotidian Aesthetics: The Design Paradigm

I have long-believed that aesthetics should be part of our everyday lives, and then philosophers started publishing books and articles about this idea I took for granted. However, I see that the literature in aesthetics did not always warrant such a conclusion, especially with an overwhelming focus on the arts. The "Everyday Aesthetics" movement in … Continue reading Quotidian Aesthetics: The Design Paradigm

Agriculture and Aesthetics

The animal only fashions things according to the standards and needs of the species it belongs to, whereas man knows how to produce according to the measure of every species and knows everywhere how to apply its inherent standard to the object: thus man also fashions things according to the laws of beauty.Karl Marx Aesthetics … Continue reading Agriculture and Aesthetics

Review of Wandering in the Land of Oblivion

The Urbano Project in Jamaica Plain (Boston) has a wonderful show by artist Constanza Aguirre, on view from November 9, 2018 through January 11, 2019. Her art explores the relationship that people have with work. What happens when displaced people are thereby prevented from working? Do they become less human?  In my art review (see … Continue reading Review of Wandering in the Land of Oblivion

Review of Temple of Mnemon

Here is my review of Temple of Mnemon, a sculpture by Anne Lilly that was installed on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston from the summer to October of 2018. This review was published in Big Red & Shiny, Boston's contemporary art journal online. The opening paragraph of the review: Part of what makes us … Continue reading Review of Temple of Mnemon

Aesthetics Versus Philosophy of Art

It has become increasingly common to use the word 'aesthetics' when really talking about art. While it is true that many works of art are beautiful or have other aesthetic properties, most people claim to deny that aesthetics is a necessary component of art. One just has to think about Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (1917); he claimed … Continue reading Aesthetics Versus Philosophy of Art

The Aesthetics of Business

An aesthetic judgment, according to John Dobson, consists of five elements: disinterest, subjectivity, inclusivity, contemplativity, and internality. In his article "Aesthetics as a Foundation for Business Activity" (2007, Journal of Business Ethics), Dobson explains how businesses today need to consider aesthetics in their business practices. People (i.e., consumers) are no longer satisfied with the simple logical, … Continue reading The Aesthetics of Business

Review of Scientific Purposes

Here is my review of Anna Schuleit Haber's exhibit Scientific Purposes (In which a murderous hairdresser donates his head to science, with one restriction) in Boston (March 2 - April 15, 2018). This is part one of a series for Big, Red & Shiny. For these essays, I review a show through the lens of a particular … Continue reading Review of Scientific Purposes