Taste & Beauty

takanashiTakanashi Yutaka, Kanda: Kashimaya Liquor Store, 2-8 Awaji-cho, Chiyoda-ku from Machi series (1977, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo)


“I insisted that beauty was not a thing – “the beautiful” was a thing. In images, I intoned, beauty was the agency that caused visual pleasure of the beholder; and any theory of images that was not grained in the pleasure of the beholder begged the question of their efficacy and doomed itself to inconsequence.”

From Dave Hickey “The Invisible Dragon – Enter the Dragon on the vernacular of beauty”

“So that when it is said, taste cannot be disputed, it can only mean, that no one can strictly answer what pleasure or pain some particular man may find from the taste of some particular thing. This indeed cannot be disputed; but we may dispute, and with sufficient clearness too, concerning the things which are naturally pleasing or disagreeable to the sense. But when we talk of any peculiar or acquired relish, then we must know the habits, the prejudices, or the distempers of this particular man, and we must draw our conclusion from those”.

“…The cause of a wrong taste is a defect of judgment. And this may arise from a natural weakness of understanding, (in whatever the strength of that faculty may consist,) or, which is much more commonly the case, it may arise from a want of proper and well‐directed exercise, which alone can make it strong and ready”.

From Edmund Burke (1729–1797). On Taste. The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.


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