Artistic Visions and the Promise of Beauty: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

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Kathleen M. Higgins, Shakti Maira, Sonia Sikka
Springer International Publishing, Mar 10, 2017 - Philosophy - 265 pages

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.

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About the author (2017)

Kathleen M. Higgins is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Her main areas of research are aesthetics, continental philosophy, and philosophy of emotion. She is author of a number of books, including The Music of Our Lives (1991/ rev. 2011) and The Music between Us: Is Music the Universal Language? (2012), which received the American Society for Aesthetics Outstanding Monograph Prize in 2013. She has been a Resident Scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study and Conference Center and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Shakti Maira is a respected contemporary artist in India. His work is in international collections and in the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. In 2005 he helped organize the ‘Learning through the Arts in Asia’ symposium. Subsequently, UNESCO invited him to formulate “i>The Asian Vision of Arts in Education: Learning through the Arts. His book, Towards Ananda: Rethinking Indian Art and Aesthetics was published by Penguin/Viking in India in 2006. His paper, “Socio-cultural Learning through the Arts in India” was included in Transmissions and Transformations – Learning through the Arts in Asia, edited by Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, published by Primus Books, India (2011).

Sonia Sikka is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ottawa. Her primary areas of research are philosophy of culture, philosophy of religion and continental philosophy. She is the author of Herder on Humanity and Cultural Difference: Enlightened Relativism (2011), and editor, with Lori Beaman, of Multiculturalism and Religious Identity:Canada and India (2014). Her current research focuses on the idea of religion, and on intersections between religion and politics.

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