26 April | 19:30

Roundtable: Beauty #294

Doors 19:30 / Start time 20:00
Entrance 3-5 euro (up to your offer)

At this roundtable, four invited speakers will discuss the ambiguities surrounding beauty and the role it occupies in contemporary artistic practice. The audience is invited to participate.

Ever since Kant, the concept of the beautiful has been precariously lodged between the subjective and the objective. Aesthetic judgments are at once expressions of personal taste and ascriptions of beauty to an object. By calling something beautiful, we at once judge and describe - or perhaps we judge under the cover of describing.

In The Postmodern Condition, Lyotard sidestepped this ambiguity by aligning modern art with the sublime rather than the beautiful. Beautiful things are beautiful in relation to a set of norms; the experience of the sublime shatters those norms, rendering its aesthetic articulation a constant rupture with past modes of representation.

But perhaps these big words are disappearing from the artistic realm altogether: as Sianne Ngai argues, today's aesthetic categories are not the beautiful and the sublime, but the cute, zany and interesting. Under conditions of late capitalism, making beautiful objects has become a task for advertisers and designers; artists do research, ask questions and provoke. Has the merely beautiful become boring?

At this roundtable, four invited speakers will discuss the ambiguities surrounding beauty and the role it occupies in contemporary artistic practice. The audience is invited to participate.

Invited speakers:
Chris Fenwick (literary scholar) 
Christina Dimitriadis (visual artist)
Joshua Fineberg (composer)
Melissa Steckbauer (visual artist)

Moderated and organized by Dennis Schep.