This volume examines the motives behind rejections of beauty often found within contemporary art practice, where much critically acclaimed art is deliberately ugly and alienating. It reflects on the nature and value of beauty, asking whether beauty still has a future in art and what role it can play in our lives generally. The volume discusses the possible “end of art,” what art is, and the relation between art and beauty beyond their historically Western horizons to include perspectives from Asia. The individual chapters address a number of interrelated issues, including: art, beauty and the sacred; beauty as a source of joy and consolation; beauty as a bridge between the natural and the human; beauty and the human form; the role of curatorial practice in defining art; order and creativity; and the distinction between art and craft. The volume offers a valuable addition to cross-cultural dialogue and, in particular, to the sparse literature on art and beauty in comparative context. It demonstrates the relevance of the rich tradition of Asian aesthetics and the vibrant practices of contemporary art in Asia to Western discussions about the future of art and the role of beauty.
Shusaku Endo's novel Silence, first published in 1966, endures as one of the greatest works of twentieth-century Japanese literature. Its narrative of the persecution of Christians in seventeenth-century Japan raises uncomfortable questions about God and the ambiguity of faith in the midst of suffering and hostility. Endo's Silence took internationally renowned visual artist Makoto Fujimura on a pilgrimage of grappling with the nature of art, the significance of pain and his own cultural heritage. His artistic faith journey overlaps with Endo's as he uncovers deep layers of meaning in Japanese history and literature, expressed in art both past and present. He finds connections to how faith is lived in contemporary contexts of trauma and glimpses of how the gospel is conveyed in Christ-hidden cultures. In this world of pain and suffering, God often seems silent. Fujimura's reflections show that light is yet present in darkness, and that silence speaks with hidden beauty and truth.
The Art of Seeing explores traditional and contemporary art and artistic media focusing on art as seen from the artist's point of view. The book introduces students to artistic techniques and introductory aesthetic principles. It provides clear, concise presentation, superb illustrations, and strong emphasis on the elements and media.