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Title

Beauty

Author

WalkerResources

Date

October 23, 2012

Institution Walker Art Center

This Art Collector Set is designed to get us thinking about beauty and the roles it has (or doesn't have) in art and life. Each slide features an image of Beauty, a sculpture by artist Jack Pierson, accompanied by statements by artists, writers, philosophers, and historical figures. The quotes are divergent and even contradictory at times, representing a variety of individual viewpoints and a range of historical and cultural contexts. This demonstrates how slippery the term "beauty" is when we try to pin it down with definitions or generalizations.

AUDIENCES: This Set serves any art patron wrestling with questions such as, "Should art be beautiful?" or, "What is the role of beauty in art or life?" Rather than providing direct answers, this Set approaches the topic in a speculative, poetic way to encourage the reader's independent, critical thought. This Set could be used in a middle school, high school, or college level visual arts course. In addition to visual arts, this Set could be a relevant resource for studying the humanities, language arts, art history, art appreciation, or philosophy, specifically aesthetics.

CLASSROOM IMPLEMENTATION: Students read the quotes aloud to their peers, taking turns around the classroom. Depending on students' language abilities and historical knowledge, the educator may choose to facilitate deep reading of each quote to unpack meanings. Since each slide contains three quotes, the class could pause at each slide and vote on which statement they believe is closest to the truth and why. (Alternative: Which statement they disagree with most strongly and why.) The educator could then moderate a brief classroom discussion for each slide, giving students opportunity to defend their choices.

ACTIVITIES: Attached to this Set are two activity ideas suggesting ways to engage students more deeply in their understanding of beauty, aesthetics, and art. The activities are sketched out as suggestions rather than fully developed lesson plans.

CUSTOMIZATION: Feel free to customize this Set. As a registered user of ArtsConnectEd, first duplicate this Set to make a copy in your account, then edit its contents using Art Collector.

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Abbie Anderson  December 22, 2012

"The beauty of things must be that they end."

Jack Kerouac

Abbie Anderson  December 22, 2012

I noticed Beauty one Tuesday morning on the way to my office. Just a day earlier, the polished plaster wall had been bare. Then suddenly, Beauty appeared, spelling out its red message as I advanced down the hall. An Oscar Wilde quote about beauty, ugliness, prettiness, flickered in my mind, its perfect phrasing clumsily misremembered. Arriving at my computer, first task of the day: look up that quote.

But why stop at Wilde? What do other writers, artists, figures from history, and philosophers have to say about beauty?

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