12. What role does beauty play in contemporary art?

To some, it plays very important role. People are naturally attracted to beautiful things, and if the art work is widely considered beautiful, the beauty plays a role of first “catch” to many viewers. Beauty is subjective to each person, and artists can only create what they consider beautiful. To Robert Adams, beauty is very important as he says “Beauty, which I admit to being in pursuit of, is an extremely suspect word among many in the art world. But I don’t think you can get along without it. Beauty is the confirmation of meaning in life. It is the thing that seems invulnerable, in some cases, to our touch. And who would want to do without beauty?”

To others, however, creating beautiful things does not seem to be important in contemporary art. Some artists choose to create something unpleasant to look at. Bruce Nauman filmed running mice in his studio as he states “if I was an artist, and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art.” I am not sure if everything he does can be beautiful, and I do not think beauty is his focus in art.

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