In her essay “An Argument About Beauty” Susan Sontag traces the evolving definition of beauty from concepts of rarity and exclusivity to less discriminatory notions of it. While beauty is historically aligned with high culture, class and refinement elicited by old master and modernist art, for instance, Sontag delves into alternative notions of what is beautiful, pondering beauty in that not always considered as such. While Calling Beauty does not serve to illustrate Sontag’s essay, her words serve as valuable points of entry for considering what has been traditionally viewed as beautiful, how that view has influenced contemporary art, and how it has shaped, paradoxically, an aesthetics of the everyday.
Calling Beauty is organized around four pillars of reflection: still life, landscape, nude and portraiture. It includes work that draws peripherally and specifically on traditional subjects typically deemed beautiful within the realm of art. But, the works bring to the surface a retreat from that tradition to a contemporary reconsideration of it, thus a renewed engagement with historic artistic conventions.
Calling Beauty archive