Why Beauty Matters

Why Beauty Matters

2009, Art and Artists  -   170 Comments
Ratings: 8.25/10 from 322 users.

Why Beauty MattersPhilosopher Roger Scruton presents a provocative essay on the importance of beauty in the arts and in our lives.

In the 20th century, Scruton argues, art, architecture and music turned their backs on beauty, making a cult of ugliness and leading us into a spiritual desert.

Using the thoughts of philosophers from Plato to Kant, and by talking to artists Michael Craig-Martin and Alexander Stoddart, Scruton analyses where art went wrong and presents his own impassioned case for restoring beauty to its traditional position at the center of our civilization.

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170 Comments / User Reviews

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  1. Satanists believe their religion is spiritual ... I agree with the premise of this documentary. Ugliness, IMHO, is not healthy to mind, body or spirit.

  2. Outstanding! Beauty is truth, truth is beauty, that is all you need to know.

    1. Did you watch the film?

  3. Beauty in the forms of art and music and architecture have been a gateway to the higher realm of our lives- preserving the knowledge and inspiring our lives to find a deeper sense of meaning and albeit- love. Thats my take on this. Of course, I can easily be a critic and say something like 'Whatever you look for, you're bound to find,' hence, Sir Roger Scruton uses the most degredacious examples of modern art- most of which is bland, although even sickly, (p.s. don't watch this over a meal like I did lol) jk, however, there is certainly plenty of artists still making amazing works of art. I think the core of this movie is true tho- in our disconnected present reality, we're not making the space to find beauty or even appreciate the remnant of what's left. Very touching documentary, I enjoyed it, thought provoking, humbling, reflective...

  4. Imtroduced to Sir Roger Scruton by a British friend living in Bath, UK. What a treat this is! #Travel #SeeWesternArt #BeautyintheSacred

  5. the documentary is gone in Youtube. I'm glad it was saved in Vimeo and other medias. This was a treasure worth saving

  6. Magnificent documentary! Don't let it die... Roger Scruton must be eternal. His speech on beauty will be missed! Today people don't think like that, unfortunately.

    1. Dear Claudia, I see that we are those in charge to take this into our lives and spread the word by not letting it die with Roger Scruton, Platao, Michelangelo... We will never bend.

  7. Wonderful. But I wish Sir Roger had expressed that necessary and all-important connection between our apprehension of beauty and its real effect: gratitude; for it is gratitude that truly redeems us. In the moment when we experience beauty we are thankful to be alive. We do not feel gratitude when we see a piece by Warhol or listen to Snoop Dogg; we feel discouraged, disappointed, and desperate. Are we glad to be alive or angry that we are? That might be the question beauty helps us answer.

    1. Your comment is wonderful.

  8. The dangers of a classical education, is to think that nothing good came in culture after Queen Victoria died. Though Mr. Srunton is being quite progressive to include the impressionists. Symbolic art, non representational art, political art- these all have existed for as long as there has been civilization. Such a myopic and culturally limited view, and to present oneself as an authority on what is good is as dangerous to our culture as sahing art begins and ends with taping a banana on the wall.

  9. There is so much that is true here. He is speaking of a trend that has only continued and deepened in the following years, expressed in literature, music and art. Children are surrounded by much that is banal and ugly. We expect them to deal with adult issues at very young ages, often unconsciously through the arts. We wonder why our young people find the world confusing and brutal. Children and adults alike cannot thrive when the ideals of truth, love and beauty are denigrated. Scruton is not denying suffering and trouble, but champions art's privilege of transcending it, redeeming it and making meaning of all of life's tribulations and joys.

  10. Beauty and comfortability does not represent the totality of human experience. I can appreciate his viewpoint, but to discount the ugliness in our existence is to deny a freedom to express and exorcise it in a healthy way through art. The only alternative is suppression, and that only makes things worse.

  11. I agree with Roger Scruton. We are surrounded by ugliness and simplicity is a nice word for it, but art and especially architecture usually quite plain and unattractive in modern times. I agree whole heartedly with everything he says and so glad I found this doc which best describes how I see the world. I feel much more inspired in less commercialized places like Florence Or Toulouse then I do say in Cleveland or St Louis. I love this doc and recommend it!

  12. I heartily disagree with Roger Scruton. His definition of beauty is so focused on Western civilization that he is dismissing cultural experiences from all. He sets up a straw man argument in post modern art, ignoring the leagues of artists that focus on classical techniques. I find modern architecture beautiful. We have a beauty in nature, we do not need to simply recreate it. I find that the art that Roger Scruton hates so much to teach a new type of beauty. There is a beauty in simplicity, and Roger Scruton seems to dismiss it completely. Scruton desires art that screams it’s purpose, celebrating the human body by portraying it, rather than through a veil of art. I think beauty is anything that makes you feel. Those feelings can be positive or negative. Sylvia Plath wrote beautiful poetry that fills one with a sense of dread, and a concreteness that roots one in the reality of living. But it is still beautiful! Ugliness is completely subjective, and I think that assuming all negative emotions are ugly is a way to dismiss the beautiful duality of life. The beauty that Scruton holds in such high esteem is surface level and can only be viewed at a distance. It is a way of dismissing that we can be in touch with beauty, that we can communicate with God. The beauty of science is dismissed, and I think that that is my main disagreement with Roger Scruton. Just because he does not understand science does not mean that he should dismiss it as ugly. We held love in such a high esteem that the needs and rights of those beneath were ignored for so long. Sometimes the pain of the human condition must be acknowledged, and it must be ugly, but there is beauty in the ugliness. Scruton suffers from C.S. Lewis’ “Chronological Snobbery” in his belief that the old is inherently better than the new.

    1. Beauty in simplicity.. it's spiritual... And the perfection ist beautiful..we can see Beauty in everything around...

    2. I don't think he's implying that his definition of beauty is specific only to Western civilization. But yes, when he talks about restoring traditonal beauty to our civilization of course he's referring to the West. Where else would he refer to, Africa?

    3. You don't understand anything

    4. I deeply appreciate you mentioning how Western-centric his views on beauty are. All of his examples of "true" art are European or otherwise western. His critique of people today only thinking things are valuable if they have a use ignores many Indigenous cultures who don't see functionality as being inherently important. He claims that beauty is not subjective; what gives him the right to decide, then, what objective beauty is? Why is it up to him, and not to me, who thought that The Oak Tree was in fact a lovely work, one which he criticized? Who is he to say that our modern world is deeply entrenched in ugliness, when I sit now at my desk with beautiful stickers on my laptop and a gorgeous view of autumn trees outside and pretty handmade bracelets on my wrist? This is not to say that I, either, have the right to declare what is and what is not beautiful, but it is to say that I don't believe anyone has the ability nor the authority to decide what is objectively beautiful.

  13. Sorry Folks, you have to face this:
    The divine (you may call it god or the universe or whatever) is useless for us humans, because we cannot force the divine to do something that is useful to us, many have turned their back on the divine (aka god). After that they went away from the truth and now from beauty.
    Of course we are still part of the divine and thus can consider us as useless if we dont understand that art is a means for communication.

  14. I believe art is something only the artist could have made and it will require no explanation. I think it's great that Scruton is spelling out a similar idea here so simply that anyone can hear it. We've had frauds at the helm ever since Duchamp's joke was taken seriously. Now, in the years since this video was made, things are changing and even art critics are starting to realise that some people need real art for their well being. About time too. It's got nothing to do with class or privilege, even less accents, although you'd be forgiven for thinking that as what great art remains for the masses is never marketed to them thanks to short sighted oxbridge/public school promoters and management.

  15. Leda Farrow, Thomas Tallis wrote a beautiful 40 part motet which Janet Cardiff stole and did not alter, develop or change in any way. In her fraudulent spiel she claimed her work was "based on" Spem in Alium. You just cast a vote for Roger despite your disdain.

  16. I agree totally with Roger. Today's art and architecture is ugly and meaningless. Look around any city - it's so depressing but go to a "traditional" town anywhere and you can't help but be uplifted and happy. The skill of the art of old was immense!! They were talented.

  17. The Author is right. Beauty is objective. Factually, light-skinned Western Europeans are the most beautiful humans. This causes problems for the Ugly. Salvation for the Ugly lies in appreciating absolute beauty in nature and relationships, don't whine. As Muddy Waters put it: "you can't spend what you haven't got, you can't lose what you never had".

    1. Pro tip : When trying to convince people, leave the racism behind.

    2. K20+ what about eastern europeans?

  18. he needs to replace each and every WE with I

  19. 60 min talking about why.
    it would be cooler if he asked WHAT is beauty first then the hole film would change.

  20. "Beauty has been central to our civilization for over 2000 years...." Right off the get go, Scruton's statement is entirely wrong...Yes, if you are so lucky to be born into a specific class of people who have the privilege and access to wealth and 'beauty' and all its attendant splendour. But for the vast majority of people who have passed through the travail of this earth in the last 2000 years, only fleeting glimpses of beauty could have ever been experienced by those common people while they suffered through the daily drudgery of feudalism, slavery, wage slavery, wars, conquests, disease and the like. After all, even the alleged 'Greeks, Byzantines (Romans) and others all had slave societies which necessarily completely cancels out in its entirety the whole concept of 'Beauty.' Consider: how could a 12 year old slave who was at the beckon call of his/her master for daily toiling and sexual exploitation ever give a good god damn about a 'beautiful' painting, sculpture or ceramic Urn while he/she is succumbing to there daily whipping and rape? The whole scene, 'beautiful painting' on a wall, while the rape of the innocent is carried out, would have to be analyzed by a philosopher such as Scruton in its entirety for him to come to any 'sensible' and 'rational' conclusion about whether even such a thing or category as 'beauty' could even possibly exist in the last 2000 years among the so-called 'advanced' and 'learned' societies that we apparently hold so dear to our hearts. Yes, the painting, sculpture or Urn could, in its absolute isolation, and thus only focusing on a human appreciation of the object separated from every other thing or phenomena connected to its creation, i.e., the master who owns and rapes the slaves, and who benefits from and gets free labour to make fabulous profits in order to be a patron to an artisan who creates said master's painting for the walls in his villa and his personal enjoyment, for example, such a painting could be considered 'beautiful,' but no one in their right mind would ever even think for one moment, upon entering the scene of the master exploiting his slave, painting in the backdrop, ever consider such a scene a 'beautiful' thing. And that is the problem here...ALL ART is created only ever at the expense of some one else's suffering. With very rare examples, like hunter gatherer societies that come to mind, and who have managed to create profound, sublime and beautiful objects, some having managed to do so without having to dominate and exploit other peoples around them. But again that example is an anomaly, for even hunter gatherer societies, there leaders did also commit great terrors upon their neighbours for 'ritualistic' reasons or 'religious' celebrations. Take for example the West Coast BC Haida who are, historically, a good example of incredible inhumanity in beauty.
    The Haida, in their history, committed many raids upon their weaker neighbours for slaves and property. They also had the strange habit of putting a live and bound slave into a totem pole hole and erecting the multi-ton totem upon the poor slave thus crushing them alive. Yes, again, in my example, the totems are a testament to the high art and 'beauty' of the Haida peoples, but underneath that beauty, literally and figuratively, is an unbearable terror of some innocent person who was the sacrifice for that particular culture's'high' art and privilege of being able to leisurely appreciate there great 'totem' carvings . Scruton, as a highly paid and privileged tenured philosopher and scholar in the art of 'how to ask questions,' should at least be able to ask that basic question: 'for who suffered, and at what cost was paid for this 'beauty' before me to have come into existence?

  21. I couldn't agree more; there is a dearth of beauty in modern society. Beauty is an international language recognized by everyone, not just black-clad pseudo-intellectuals drifting about.

    People are awakening to this tyranny of the ugly. We're on to the elitists who interpret esoteric meaning in meaningless works by untalented, fatuous hacks hunting for grant money, or who foist clunky, Soviet-style architecture onto graceful historic towns to squat there belligerently amidst the beauty like dung in the Sistine Chapel.

    1. Hallo Jane, I like your comment the most. And I agree that there is to much dung around.
      The definition of Art or artistically expressions is a thing that comes out of the deepest core of a person, that strives for the ultimate harmony that excels.
      Not many people understand the creation of outstanding-ness in its deepest origin.
      To create harmony and beauty one must understand the unwritten laws of the Universe interacting with the Soul in Spirituality.
      I can go on and on, but this is the very core.

  22. Beauty, as with Art, will stand the test of time. When the noise of ugliness and talent-less, pretentious, self-serving shit subside, those great works of beauty will still be there to remind us that there is something more to art than causing materials to represent an idea. However interesting and innovative it may be.

  23. Li'l Abner cartoonist Al Capp: "Abstract art is made by those who have no talent, sold by those who have no scruples, to those who have no taste."

    Art gallery owner in New York about buyers tending toward realism: This is terrible!! Many of these artists can't draw!

  24. Approximately 108 Billion people have live before us. It is logical to believe there were some "truths" learned. Biggest difference between the foolish and the wise is one is aware of the ego and the other is in love with it. Post Modernism is anti human in that for them, reality sucks and they hate anything that shines light on their intellectual and spiritually decomposed valueless lives. They eat, sleep with their own shit and no one dare tell them they stink, or their ugly little tyrant egos must grab their shit and say "see this is real art, don't tell me it aint". They are the anti matter to Dignity, Hope, Creativity, Love, Nobility, Majesty, and Redemption. The last statement "Through the Sacred and Beauty's Portal we find Home" is a valiant description of what we can ascribe to.

    1. Great note.

  25. "Nothing is more useful than the useless.
    Ornaments liberate us from the tyranny of the useful and satisfy our need for harmony - in a strange way it makes us feel like home. They remind us that we have more than practical needs - we are not just governed by animal appetites like eating and sleeping, we have special needs and if those needs go unsatisfied so do we."

    Amazing words! ^^

    1. I dont really find ornaments beautiful..

    2. then you're not into arts, Mr. Wolf.

  26. For all those who are criticizing this video because "art cannot be defined". So a toilet with a signature IS art, and an unmade bed is also art. I have gone to galleries where they have a broom with an pail in a corner, the artists gives it a name and it is suddenly in a Museum...That is not art, that is someone who may have acquired a name in the art World making fun of art. The author of the urinal confessed to having made it to poke fun at the art World where everything has become art, even if its disgusting and not beautiful, or lacks any natural interpretation like the "Oak Tree" where if the "Artist" does not write the full explanation 100% of the people would see it at what it is, a glass of water on a shelf, someone may have thought that someone else left the water there by mistake when putting up the shelf.
    I believe art should provide a message, but it has to be worked, anyone can provide an unmade bed, or a signed urinal, how hard is it to put a broom and a pail in a corner? How about the "Oak Tree"...bull!
    It takes work to make great art, anything else is a mockery, I think he is correct, we are putting ugliness higher than it deserves, almost on a pedestal, and that is why our political system has also become ugly, with a great lack of understanding or knowledge, a World where "ignorance is bliss" seems to start prevailing, and when that happens we reach a very dangerous place.

  27. Very interesting and brave documentary. Agree on most points but don't know if this is a western bias documentary, as some have suggested. I think he is simply talking about what he has seen, you cannot know everything ! As far as being a bourgeois view I would say that 'perception is intentional' and people should think more about what they are seeing/given.

  28. While watching the video, I could not help but think that the movement from beauty as aim of art to originality as the aim, began around the time of the renaissance with humanization of art. The way I see it, the more we humanize and focus on how movement and all other artistic elements are seen by the artist, we move further away from God, or spirituality at all. We’ve gone from one end of the spectrum (Medieval times) to the other (postmodern, shock art). As evidence of this idea, is the quote, “…through the pursuit of beauty… we also come to understand our own nature as spiritual beings.” (Scruton, 3:00) Additionally, the video made me think of how much humans rely on structure and things that are larger and more important that ourselves. I believe it necessary to have some order and have something to be achieved – beauty. Without the pursuit of something higher than ourselves, we walk around without purpose making this meaningless art.

    I really like how he said that modern life could not be redeemed, so it should be displayed. There is clearly a dumbing-down that has taken place, still takes place, in the realms of art, music and architecture. I enjoyed this video immensely, and how it made me think and the confirmation that what I am doing with interior design is what I want to be doing. That said, the video also made me feel some despair over the culture and time period I am in and worries me about the future of art and society as a whole.

    Art is no longer sacred or something held higher, but rather it is meant to be interesting and say something obvious. Because of this, anything and everyone is art, thus skill and talent is useless. Art has no value. We have tried so hard to get away from objectivity that we have gone too far into subjectivity so that there is no universal. An artist that Scruton interviews in the video makes the assertion that art is not necessarily about beauty but that it is about “captivating the imagination”. I cannot help but be intrigued by this idea; I do not want to agree with this, but I do.

    This video is making my brain explode with too many thoughts and ideas. I cannot help but think of the art therapy, and wonder if it really is helpful, or even moral. Scruton speaks of how in our democratic society it is intimidating to judge another’s art work or taste. I agree and would take it one step further in that it is discouraged to judge another’s work. Because if we did, we would have to admit to some objectivity and some rule, some universal that says something is right or wrong and that would collapse what our society and culture has rebuilt its foundation upon – a false subjectivity.

    All my points up until now are not to say that I agree with Scruton on everything though. Indeed, he claims that Louis Sullivan, through his quote, “Form follows function” has facilitated the single largest crime against art and society yet – modern architecture. I have to disagree with this. I find beauty in modern architecture and completely agree with Sullivan’s quote and dislike the idea of someone who has not formally studied architecture or design critiquing a foundational idea, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Because thus person has not been formally trained, they do not know the purpose or arguments behind that quote or the reasoning for it. I do not think beauty is the goal of all things. Function is a goal that can be beautiful and functional, but in our modern society where money rules all, beauty is not always achievable and one must do what they can with what they have – and there is beauty in that. Scruton claims tnat things that aren’t beautiful but have function soon lose function because they are ugly. This is an interesting thought to me and I do not have a response to this. It is something that I must mull over and consider, it is incredibly interesting and I am sure I will watch this video many more times through my life. I can see this influencing my design ethic for the future.

    Scruton beliesves that decay is all around us and is not beautiful. But since I was a small child, something I have love to do is go back-reading with my father and look at all the old Arkansas houses falling back into nature. Here are these large stone houses, beautiful for the time they were built, that are delapiated and falling back to jature and I have to say that there is a fundamental beauty in that decay.

    In fact, Scrujton goes so far as to claim that something beautifuk will be useful forever. In my gut, I want to disagree with that hyperbolic statement, but I cannot argue against it. The Mona Lisa, David, Villa D’Este, are beautiful things and they have stood the test of time, no noe can argue against that. Indeed, they prove their usefulness in a monetary way as well! People spend thousands if not billinos of dollars each year just to see these beauties for a few moments, just to stand in their presence.

    I am so glad you had us watch this video and I was really touched by it. Throughout the whole video I could not help but think of C.S. Lewis.

    “We do not want merely to see beauty... we want something else which can hardly be put into words- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses, and nymphs and elves.” – C.S. Lewis

    1. Annemarie. A very thoughtful commentary that similarly expresses the impact aspects of Scruton's thesis has had on me. I am an architect both brought up in and self taught in the functionalists led 20th Century manner. However it has always left me uneasy that it is misplaced over reaction to the excesses of Victorian kitsch which it was prompted by. “Throwing the baby out with the bath water” . It’s puritanical zeal against a purpose beyond function has prevented it from addressing the non rational need we have for beauty. For instance it is incapable of establishing a language, grammar and syntax that combines both, as the classical language of architecture did. It is only in the beauty of natural materials and the random effects of decay that beauty is allowed in. A beauty produced by nature. Any ephemeral attempt by the hand of man is not allowed. It has not solved the simple street-side facade.

    2. Great, I’m on the same page

  29. What a surprise when the comment bellow a documentary is more interesting than the content!

  30. I recommend the late, John O' Donahue's book, "Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace," to all who feel a need for lost beauty and as an accompaniment to the video. When beauty visits us, we experience transcendence, which, though brief, is profound. It is not objective, as others, around, would not have the same experience, at the time. Neither is it subjective, such as when we decide, through ego, that something is beautiful. No, when we experience true beauty we haven't chosen the moment it has chosen us. The aesthetic experience, for so it is called, can be stimulated by both art and nature. It has been said that work of arts are great simply because they have the potential to transcend and move many people. That does not always happen, but when it does you know about it. I was once so absorbed during a performance of, "The Merchant of Venice and Juliet" that I forgot where and who I was, till I came back to earth. Yet another performance, of the same play, just let me cold. That one was done with a nod to PC and sacrificed heart to head. One could understand the intellectual appeal, but it had lost something. The something that made it art. I certainly got the point of the video, though instead of showing a pile of ugly old books, Scruton could have picked short passages, from them, to better illustrate his argument.

    One more word, on the potential effect of art, which justifies the name: I once was talking to a man, who, by his own admission, had no intellectual interest in art. He told me that he visited an art gallery. It was OK, from an everyday POV, there were attractive pictures. However, when he went through an alcove to another room, the picture, in front of him, suddenly, in his own words, "Hit me," (I don't mean physically). That moment chose him.

    It would be interesting to hear if anyone has had a transcendent experience through modern art. A twentieth century great work of literature is, of course, "Lord of the Rings." I, and, no doubt, many others have been transcended by passages and poems in it. We tend to go back and back to works that have that effect on us, they are art, to us, via first hand experience. If we simply accept something is art, because it is defined as such, then we are taking opinions at second hand. An aesthetic professor introduced a lecture, I was at, by saying, "Take your own impression first and don't let anyone bamboozle you." Art become more meaningful from that starting point and there is no shame in being honest and admitting that you don't see anything artistic about a work. Another time you might, but that's another time.

  31. Very good point of view, and rare example of good western thoughts.

  32. Scary conservative, unimaginative documentary on the art viewing and making experience. He didn't deal with the fact that artists are trained to respond to, deconstruct, and dismantle the work of their predecessors i.e. Duchamp.... So Scruton, in his bizarre, limited, anachronistic bubble of beauty, fails to acknowledge that the history of beauty evolves, as sure as the after-market prices for great masters works will increase....

    1. You are a prime example of the modern art critic and a spokesman for the "Cult of Ugliness".Whenever someone criticizes your idea of what art should be you dismiss them as being quaint and antiquated. Beauty is a timeless phenomenon and though the perceptions of it are as varied as the many different peoples of this world there are certain principles which hold true among them all.

    2. We get it from women. :)

    3. You're welcome ;)

    4. My pleasure. :)

    5. you are completely right. he is also ignoring works of art and architecture that are beautiful that are contemporary. he is just an old white guy ignoring the taste of other people.

  33. I absolutely agree with him. I am fed up with someone teling me this is art when i see only buls*it. I stop going to the exhibitions of modern art because i was so often disapointed that i just stop. But it make me feel sorry and sad. I dont understand where it go so wrong that when i look at something which should be art i dont feel like it. But thanks for old masters which where real, nor should they must do self affirmation like modern artists. Very sorry for my english.

  34. this video is no longer available :(

  35. i see beauty in the ugly. its the same thing. this guy see it differently but shouldn't speak for everyone

    1. You obviousely didn't watch the entire video. Start watchig from 44:00
      where he starts talking of ugliness being seen as beautiful.

  36. I find this documentary biased because beauty is completely subjective.

  37. beauty doesn t matter but art matters

    1. if you were to choose whether to kiss a beautiful or an ugly girl/boy, which one would you choose? why?

      if you could live in a beautiful house or an ugly house, which one would be your pick? why?

      if you could choose a beautiful painting or a really ugly one to hang up on your wall where you can see it every day, which one would you prefer? why?

  38. I must say that I agree with the man. To be surrounded by beauty and coherence in the shape it is presented in is for me a fundamental need. I feel in a way connected with my surroundings and my human nature. I know this sounds pretentious, but I can not explain it other words.

    What I am only wondering about is the art that presents the beauty through uglyness. I truly think there is beauty in Bukowski's work. Through the harshness he shows me a vulnerability that I perceive as the beauty of being human. That's why I'm questioning if the first appereance of art should necessarily be polished beauty.

  39. I really liked this one. I have never liked most modern "what they call art". I like the classics, the beautiful things like Caspar David Friedrich whose paintings of longing are unsurpassed and Bernini who I think was the best in sculpture I've ever seen. This was a nice documentary.

  40. I think what he wants is more Humanism and beauty is the result of it. Modernists have ruined it all. We need a school of classical architecture in Europe immediately!

  41. because they cannot handle to truth.

  42. people, they cannot handle to truth.

  43. all the complaints below sadly prove how pointless can it be to speak the truth to those who live from a lie. Mentioning the eras of art, definition of the term beauty, even Hitler... Really? Don't we all live surrounded by hideous malls, highways, kitsch? What more evidence do you need? Accusing him for saying that art is an aristocratic value of some kind, while you are the ones perceiving art as something restricted for galleries-because otherwise you wouldn't even recognize it, as mentioned. Think about it; why does everyone travel to Paris? To see the "historic center" right? You don't get a lot of suburbia on your postcards do you? So forget about the galleries and conceptual art, forget about Scruton if you wish it's all unimportant, the important thing is that everything is u-g-l-y. Pretending to be modern, pretending to be new... Have you ever seen a modern building which looks good with an aged facade? Neither have I. Art has always been a direct image of it's society. In this era, It's all a big lie. Nothing more than a lie.

  44. Hitlers idea of beauty regarding art was consistently the concept of the "The Brave Soldier". His attempt was mixing art and propaganda. not an attempt at rewriting classicism. He would have I'm sure if he dominated.

  45. Hilter Also was focused on Beauty but what form is beauty and what form is ugly? what part of art is life and beautiful and what part of it is philosophy? is he not rewriting classism? is he not raising himself up as a false god? what part of art is cultism? how is art deco ugly? how are the rebels of the third riech not artists? how is the rebellion of creative restraints of genocide not art? this man is doing what has been done before. he is demonizing what he doenst understand. he is raising up himself just as hitler did. hilter doesnt deserve his name to be remembered but remeber that that monsoter did infact try to control art and artistic expression and we as a world were appalled of his demonizing the value of beauty and art and the form and the destruction of many pieces of world history art culure as hitler worked to destroy culture and build it up as his own culture. Art is history and memory and philoshy and poetry and freedom and culture and individual and everything it needs to be or has to be. yet we knew of hitlers destruction of art before we knew of the genocide and torture of the jews. who is this man in this documentary? a snob. first of all michealangelo was angry to be painting when his love was sculpture is that beauty to be paid and live well off to abandon you passion? this man doesnt have taste. he is hoping to be the hype that feeds the starving what they need. but all he can do is create a little hitler. i say that there is more beauty in a heavy set loving compassionate woman who gets angry and tells of a stuck up little rich girl who knows nothing of suffering and love than there is in a well figured twenty one year old plasstic srgery addict that overcompensates for thier inner lack of identity. this man want to give and identity to art as one is superior to another, and he is the cult of commercialism, that dies and consumes a economy and gives it no life to recover.

    ceh philosophy the greatest artist is the appreciator that gives life to the work
    the greatest friend to the artist is the critic that gives passion to the artist to be or not to be no matter what
    the artist is a recycler that reshapes what is into a new form
    the form was already and so the artist is not a creator but a recycler

    so in a fact perhaps this man is a artist and not a philosopher yet with a multitude of words his destructin to defame even the destructive beauty of what is seen a ugly that is in itself food for the philosopher perhaps he should learn to make art so he can see that he is infact not a philosopher and he can perhaps learn that he knows nothing of art and be enlightened that he has no wisdom and is not a philosopher but an artist no matter how base in my opinion, he would indeed make a jar of piss but i think he would put himself on the cross, because his work cries out that he thinks himself like hitler one who thought himself to be the savior of the world, a false christ, and i love jesus, but i find this man has no name he should learn to paint or sculpt or deconstruct and destroy and perhaps then he may come to find his beauty, it is not his talent words. he is provoctative and destructive, and if he could be that way without killing a race of people or a race of artists, perhaps he could be enlightened and know what is art if he kept his mouth shut and silenced his pen and explored the world of art blindfolded as one without eyes and then i might wonder what he knows or learned. but he is not talented as a critic. he has no appreciation, but let him critize my art pieces and designs and i will be very happy because they are as ugly and beautiful as he will never understand nor see in his life. he is blind. what is his name? he's very old and stupid. i am only 35. i hope i have plenty of rejection, it makes my art grow and defy this falsehood of definition. multitude of words. how do you them now?
    the death of art and appreciation is the following of hype and critics that have no passion for life or death and destroy that they can be remembered

    1. Sorry but you didn't understand what was the meaning of art during Hitler's time
      He believed art should represent his heroism like good soldier he didn't understand what beauty is otherwise he would not do the crime of century

  46. Beautiful.

  47. I think he makes some great points. I am an artist myself, i enjoyed this a lot, i don't why everyone has to be so aggressive about this documentary.

  48. Are u sure about that?

  49. Too simplistic for me. I can't believe it just ended without even exploring beauty in a contemporary context. What of Janet Cardiff's Forty-Part Motet? or Olafur Eliasson's weather project? There is so much contemporary art out there that explores beauty in such incredible ways! This guy is an idiot!

    1. Sure there is some beautiful contemporary art. He's not saying there isn't. He's simply saying that urinals and canned sh!t have taken center stage and that civilization has applauded this tragedy. I agree with him. Art well done is art well done. The impressionists and Picasso did modern art well (in their time), but art done well today, be it contemporary or traditional, is unfortunately put on the back page.

      You can have your can's of sh!t and keep your dirty city life. Arrogant folks like yourself think you have the best life has to offer by living in the big apple or some other modern dump, totally unaware and stunted by your limited view of life defined by what some weirdo art critic says is hip or cool. Unbeknownst to you, you are the one who is too simplistic and idiotic.

  50. too simplistic for me. I can't believe it just ended without even exploring beauty in a contemporary context. What of Janet Cardiff's Forty-Part Motet? or Olafur Eliasson's weather project? There is so much contemporary art out there that explores beauty in such incredible ways! This guy is an id**t!

    1. You can only fit so much theory into a short documentary, try reading Scruton’s book ‘beauty’ you will find it anything but simplistic. Scruton is certainly not an idiot and while you might disagree with some of what he says, resorting to abuse renders your own argument null and void.

  51. Beauty does matter, it attracts us to divinity, which is another very important issue in these days of chaos.
    I practice Falun Gong, which is a heart and mind cultivation practice available everywhere for free. This practice has over one hundred million adherents Worldwide. It consists of five exercises and basically nine lectures.
    I consider myself very lucky because Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, has allowed me to distinguish the difference between right and wrong concerning such difficult issues as gay rights, drug use, euthanasia, suicide, abortion and many other very important subjects. The practice is available on line and thank you for your consideration.

  52. Many of his views are relevant. Beauty in the escapist sense still has a place in art. The problem i have with his view is that he somehow assumes that those works that are elevated to the divine in his odd theocratic platonian view are just technically proficient works of idealism, and escapism, and that the ugly and utilitarian are somehow less works of divinity. In my mind what he calls divinity is reflected in all of "creation", and that the purest forms of art aren't tethered to epic works of pompous technique any more than they are to children's art. Children's art is probably purer in my mind. I get the sense that this person is a bitter dullard.

  53. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Scruton neglects to portray that beauty lies in truth. A painting doesn't necessarily have to portray a conventional homogeneous beauty, but rather one can find beauty in truth, no matter how shocking or grotesque it may appear to the audience. Though I believe that some Art today are without substance, it is because of consumer culture. If you try to look and understand the meaning behind some of the works of modernist and anarchist in the world of art you will find not just boundless beauty but unassuming truth in human life. I find Scruton's search for beauty very presumptuous, arrogant, and very bias to a conservative idealism, which is ultimately the very opposite definition of BEAUTY!

  54. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    1. Not necessarily. This is more apparent with music. One would not consider someone banging on a keyboard as music unless rather insipid or a happy accidental prodigy. Visual art is the same.

    2. And yet, there is beauty in that, a child banging away on a keyboard. And it is music, whether rudimentary and not well coordinated, but it is music nonetheless. Music at its core, in my view is the intended creative organization, spontaneous or planned, developed or undeveloped of sounds and notes. Purely and simply. From that it can turn into a wondrous symphony or it can be simple as a toe tapping on the floor.
      While I understand where Scruton is coming from aesthetically, his pov is at best idealistic, but presents in fact a limited perception of beauty, because while there are let's say overall human aesthetics (in a Kantian sense, e.g.; a sunrise or waves crashing on the shore) beauty goes beyond those so-called universal aesthetics, and goes into the private where it is left partly to whom it presents itself to. And even that may involve an educational process. For centuries, African art wasn't even considered in Europe, because of the prevalent beliefs in Europe around art and its creative expression, its execution, technique and intent, etc...

      Like in every century, decade and or year there are seasons and cycles to certain artistic inclinations which will predominate over others. At times artists will become more interested in exploring certain realistic or mundane topics for example, at other times the imaginary becomes more relevant, at times the primitive, minimalistic and essential becomes the trend of exploration, at other times maximalism and creating larger-than-life art becomes the focus. In these last 30 years, pop art has predominated in music and in the visual world, but who knows what lies on the horizon. It could be an amalgam of classical art, modern, surrealism, electronic, and even more. Basically art follows as many themes as it can explore, it is first and foremost always subject to the 'laws' of freedom. That's why one can never truly pinpoint or discuss on these topics but from a highly personal vantage point which at times can be very narrow in perspective.

  55. The Beauty does not meter for Architecture think about Architecture as an another clouts you wear,it is a fashion

    1. Take a look at the architectural environments of James Turrell. Read about them, look at them, enter one.

  56. Loved this right from the outset.
    There's a place for political art, subversive art and cold formal art .... but when artists abandon the search for beauty just to follow the herd, our civilization suffers.
    Same thing for mass media. Crass, stupid films-media that celebrate stupidity, brutality and ugliness make me sad for our society. There's a place for all genres, certainly ... but his statement is a a breath of fresh air.

    1. I agree with Henry, as cool and witty as a lot of art is today, their is a lot of bs, especially in contemporary art.

  57. If you can't see the democratic wonder that is pluralism then you deserve your classist, self-righteous world view.

    1. One could easily argue that you are no different. You are just as judgmental and dismissive of things that don't conform to your ideals are you not? Your first response to the message here being "OMG GO AWAY" You deserve your own self righteous classist (only with proletariat on top) world view.

  58. Scruton first embraced conservatism during the student protests of May 1968 in France. Nicholas Wroe wrote in The Guardian that Scruton was in the Latin Quarter in Paris at the time, watching students overturning cars to erect barricades, and tearing up cobblestones to throw at the police. "I suddenly realized I was on the other side. What I saw was an unruly mob of self-indulgent middle-class hooligans"

    This documentary is a waste of time...

  59. Yes to scruton. I don't want to pretend that I admire or even understand why a urinal could be considered as art. I see it to be utterly ironic that common things by their nature of being common, can now pass as something sublime, and thus something worthy of admiration. I personally think that to be called an artist nowadays wouldn't give you enough merit or satisfaction in pursuing such career since any man can make a straight line and declare it as a fine work of art. Frankly speaking and I bet majority will agree, one could only feel pride in their work if they know that they are cut above from the rest-that is if their works are done not only with originality and creativity, but also with expertise and skills cultivated and honed through years of serious studies (unless they're exceptionally gifted!). It's very sad that not everyone could be doctors and save lives, but everyone could be artists and pretend to save lives.

    1. OMG GO AWAY.

  60. Hello All,

    Apologies for not contributing anything to the dialogue but I would very much like to know the classical piece with which the Documentary opens. Thank you!

    1. ask @Pysmythe...he knows the ins and outs of classical music.

    2. The name of the piece is "Stabat mater dolorosa" by Pergolesi. The specific track you here in the documentary is from the Cologne Chamber Orchestra. You can find it on Amazon.

  61. i love when i can watch something and agree and disagree with it at the same time. :)

  62. an agruement to be made is, holywood, popstars and fasion have taken over the need for beauty... in the appetite for this you can see the need for beauty...but film and foto do not capture it realy... it's cheap and LAZY....

    compare brat pitt and angela jolie with a Bernini sculpture and you know what i mean!! the latter give me goosebumps
    the real artists/masters labour and talent combined with real beauty makes me silent/humble /small wich feels good (maybe a religious feeling)

    i studied art therapy and when i see most modern art i see: drugs, incest, voodoo, narcesism, neuroses and all other psychiatric disorders... not fun to look at and i cannot understand people who want these displays of sickness in their house!

  63. I agree whole heartedly with Scruton. An idea isn't art. Art is creativity, and talent, and passion. What passes for modern art today is mostly a pretentious farce perpetrated by self centered pseudo intellectuals. A can of **** is not art. Although the fact that it passes for art is quite ironic.

  64. A documentary to be watched only for old ladies after Sunday service. What makes a work of art is the pursuit of the sublime and the sublime includes both beauty and ugliness. Even the most perfect artistic production includes ugliness. The "David"'s real value as a work of art may be more in the fact that it expresses the frustration to achieve complete beauty (the ideal) than in its seemingly perfect features. Plato's influence has done a lot of evil both in history and in art.

  65. Worst documentary I've ever seen.

    Any discussion of "why beauty matters" requires a provisional working definition of what the term "beauty" refers to, which Roger Scruton fails to provide, rendering his entire study invalid, therefore, dare I say, MEANINGLESS!

    The fractured aesthetic of 20th century European art to which Scruton expresses such disdain is attributed to a collective psychological response to the horrifying conditions of World Wars I and II which many artists fought. So, does he support the Nazis who destroyed thousands of these so-called "degenerate" artworks (along with millions of books), favouring (mostly stolen) German classicist and romanticist artworks utilised as fascist propaganda?

    Scruton is a pompous, reckless right-wing Wagnerian, more half-baked theologian than philosopher, not qualified to speak authoritatively about art - FACILE TRITE BASELESS DRIVEL!

  66. Artist don't always want to paint what is beautiful there is a magnifence and majesticness of eugly, and who defines what's beautiful. This guy who made this documentary. What a pompess piece of sh*t. I think he is a womanizer. Not every thing we feel is beautiful or happy! Every emotion on the human spectrum is just as valuble.

  67. Interesting Documentary indeed. Full of issues I never thought of about the field of Art, Never thought Philosophy could make something I hardly had any interest in so fascinating. This Documentary will need to be watched again to deeply understand and contemplate on what is being said exactly. Some things are 100% without a doubt disgusting, I don't want Art to become something that will irritate us about the life of this world and widely expose and express it's ugliness and shame, I would hate it if something nasty was thrown in my face like that, but of course it's not up to me to decide the framework of the concept of Art. Some pictures we're too filthy, some ugly Art will never become beautiful or appreciated no matter how these Artists try. If it's beautiful/Art because they said so then this is just blatant Corruption. I guess this is were, as stated many times below, this comes along...'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'.

  68. One viewing doesn't really suffice for an accurate critique of a presentation of this size but that's all I have time for right now. The obvious reason for the video is to bash all works labeled art that do not conform to author's personal standards of what art ought always to be. However, the film is not without some merit. I agree with his appraisals of some absolutely absurd and even grotesque works. I do think there should be limits imposed that cause all artists to at least act human and respect their fellow man. As it is today things have gotten way out of control to the point of subtle (and not so subtle) discrimination and potentially destructive madness (especially in undeveloped youthful minds). I also agree with the author that today nothing is sacred anymore. There seems to be a general spirit of contempt everywhere and in almost everyone these days which is being vividly reflected in art. I personally would like to see more artists focusing on what's right about life. Bless the person who is able to create art that lifts up the downtrodden. But even though I'd like many things I think I have no right to make others emulate my personal tastes in art. Who knows, maybe it's a good thing for me to be shocked once and awhile? The sum is this, I do Modern Art myself and after 40 years of hiding my talents I'm finally coming out of the basement. I hid my works for years for fear of what others would say. No more.

    1. @dale1948

      Nicely said.

  69. The Modernism movement that emerged from Impressionism and Realism in the late 1800's (and continues to this day) roused not from moral degradation but from a desire to break from the rigid, almost tyrannical, Academic manner Art was taught in and was expected to comply with. Moreover, beauty was never a value for the Renaissance artists, they merely intended for their paintings to represent reality and of course they achieved splendid results. But the invention of the photograph (1840's) dismissed reality as a fundamental quality of Art, and slowly but surely, modernism took hold, and that is the art we see today, not from a lack of Beauty. Rubbish Beauty being held as a value; of course, Beauty impresses, and naturally every artist wishes to impress. I do however agree our contemporary culture has somewhat lost its trail in the defining of Art, what we need is merely a new school (of art that is) with re-innovated values so it may, by virtue of magnificence, impart once more upon the contemporary culture the importance of Art and what it meant for the peoples before the 19th century. I'm sure Art will regain its foothold in time.

  70. Transition of beuty into ugliness marks the evolution of man from humanness to inhumanness. This ducumentary is a real journey into our own reality, the reality of which we all have a share, but so ignorantly embrace as an end in itsel and not as a means to an end.Are we are heading for our own end? The beauty persists to exist. What wrong with us is we use beuty as a commodity to be used and throw away, whereas beusty is more than an utility rather a virtue. The highest of all virtues, without which nothing brings meanings to us....

  71. I've found myself repeatedly wactching this. It was beautifully done. And the fact that this documentary ruffled so many feathers proves that the man has a strong argument: on the whole, he's not against modern art. Indeed, he didn't speak against Georgia O'keeffe or Picasso. Remember, while doing a television documentary on her life, Okeeffe vistied an exhibition that included some of Pollack's work. Knowing that she had never seen any of Pollack's work before, her young assistant asked her what she thought of it. She stared for a moment and said "You can have it. " She, then, walked away. This suggests to me that Mr. Scruton, as I suspect Ms. O'keffe might have been, is against cans of excrement and unmade beds being forced on the public as art because it is "art" done for the sake of shock value. The greater the shock, the greater the monetary value.


  72. I've never felt so irritated by, yet compelled to finish a documentary. Right away Mr. Scruton ruffled my feathers. His antagonistic view of the tendencies in modern and contemporary art felt like an attack on places where I find value and meaning. He greatly exaggerated these tendencies to show them as opposed to his traditionalist view of beauty and its function. I see no need to present traditional and contemporary art as opposed to each other. This seems to me to be a very simplistic view.

    At the same time, I can see a valid opinion and strong logic in his traditionalist views. I was compelled to allow him to finish his point and finish the documentary. I appreciate the rigor and zeal of his argument, yet I totally disagree with him.

    There is in fact tons of beauty, even at times the traditional beauty of Scruton, in contemporary art. His presentation feels to me like propaganda against contemporary art. There is a high chance that people who are not actually informed of the artworld of the day would be swayed to a strong opinion against it.

    I wish that he would have went more into the issue of the Sublime. In fact, I think that if he were to do so, he may have came to a bridge that could have connected him to the contemporary British artists he so strongly placed himself in opposition to. In other words, although Scruton's work is rigorous, it isn't rigorous enough to step aside from his dichotomous argument.

    1. I think it's sad how deffensive artists are about their point of view. Whatever the modern art concept of beauty is, it's undeniable that we did lost something of value along the way of revolutionizing the field. A sense of wonder with the object of art per se, not only the idea behind it.

  73. From the comments below, many have missed the point. Modernism has in fact changed the way society views beauty. Utilitariansim has changed attitudes about the way we live, what we need, or don't need, promoted consumerism and shunned humanism. We would be smart to try and understand what Rothko was trying to tell us and to take a moment to consider what this documentary is attempting to relay rather than closing our minds to philosophically different views.

  74. Concepts of beauty change over time. Technology has shifted social interpretation of beauty to something different just as man's relationship to man has changed - utlitarianism has in fact changed how we view the world and one another. Art is merely an extension of how man views the world at any point in time. Profitability and disregard for humanism is now reflected in modern art. Rothko was trying to alert society to its inevitable destruction through the atomic bomb - hence he committed suicide. Destruction of all natural resouces bit by bit for the sake of consumerism. We would be wise to give this documentary serious weight or there will in fact, be nothing left to appreciate - much less argue about what is meant by beauty.

    1. RK hits the nail on the head. The purpose of art changed through the ages. Pre-historic cave paintings had totemic value that assured a successful hunt. The famous works of classical art, that we consider beautiful were basically commissioned by wealthy patrons and clergy for their own personal reasons. After the invention of the camera, exact graphic representation became superfluous. Art responed with mood and color variations. Cubism with attempted 3D variation. After the Freudian paradigm, art reflected representations of the sub-conscious in the form of expressionism, surrialism, and da-daism. For a short time, the artist was the hero who attempted to offer us refuge from the banality of post modern (20th Century) existence.

      Today art is nothing but a commodity (I apologize if I sound like Robert Hughes), but the fact many works of classical art today are bought and sold by the super wealthy mearly on the basis of investment without any regard for the intrinsic "beauty" of the work.

      This leaves the contemporary artist with only one avenue if they are to be considered profitable and successful. Commercialism.

      By the way, Mr. Scruton, the REAL kitch is the "Starving Artist" showcase at your local Holiday Inn.

  75. Just from the first 2 minutes i can tell that his definition of beuty is EXTREAMLY linear...the 21 centry may have been showing that even the grotesk can be beautiful...and who is anyone (ESPECIALLY HIM) to say that what is beautiful and what isn't...beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

  76. There is subjective beauty, like sexual taste, and there is a universal quality of a beauty that is mathmatical. Beauty in art combines both emotional experesion and mathmatical order and in this way not all art is subjectively beautiful.

  77. captivate the imagination, by a toilet?? Bullshit

  78. this may sound cliche.. but, with war and fighting going on in the world, at least there is an attempt for the layman to make art.. if it's not good or great or exceptional.. it's constructive and done with good intentions.. this film is very sad..(although i didn't see all of it because i couldn't bear to go on after 3 minutes of ranting and textbook knowledge of art).

  79. I can see the beauty in his pitiful attempt at clinging on to his disapprobation toward others' incoherence to the bourgeois aesthetic of 'beauty' (which we all know is relative) who have been seemingly producing incendiary works that apparently challenge the authoritative aspect of what is acceptable and what is permissible as insider art, from an outsider's perspective.

    Oh it's so beautifully well constructed when he opens the film discussing (and being placed among and interacting with) 'beauty' as a relic of the past.It's also beautiful how he attributes the birth philosophy to the Greeks as if philosophy had never existed within cultures prior 2000 years ago.

    What I find beautiful about this ridiculous film, exalting this guy as some pious authority on beauty, is that no one (who was making the film) seemed to notice the comical aspect of the fact that they actually believe that he is right, and for that matter,that he believes he is right!

    So beautiful to see someone so sure of something, who totally snubs out anyone else who may find beauty in other things, make himself look like an ass, when in fact it was his last attempt at trying to make a beautiful quality documentary, starring himself, before his retirement.

    1. I think you missed the whole point, due to your own limited view.

  80. Very well made!

  81. Ayn Rand are you kidding me! We should let her speak for herself.
    What do you have to say?

  82. This is a great video!
    We have lost much of what is in the value of beauty. Some of us can not ascertain beauty. Some of us do not know the value of love aside from lust. Artists that create spectacles and piggy back on ideas that consumers can swallow are grappling for attention in their loveless worlds of emptiness. In order for an artist to express something of beauty they must realize something of beauty. Through an eye of love beauty is ascertained. Painting with love in love and through love will further the cause of beauty. Bringing forth the divine in other words will bring forth beauty.
    The artist here, the film maker is an artist who is making a statement about today's world that is pointing to a disintegration of our society a disintegration of our humanity. If the rich don't support the value of beauty and if the rich loose all sense of good taste then the valuable art will go unrecognized and the starving artists will loose momentum for sure! We need the radical expression and criticism of artists to understand where we are and what we are gaining and what we are loosing in today's world.
    Are we compromising ourselves to the idols of money, jobs, possessions, prestige and power. We are choosing everyday what we value. Sadly our sensitivity to beauty seem to be waining and our unnourished souls hunger for the delicacies that fast food can't suffice. The patrons of the arts the billionaires who run the worlds economics need to search their vacuous souls for any remnant of taste for beauty in art that may remain!

  83. I remember clearly saying about 5 years ago...that humans respond to beauty...i was saying this while looking in a mirror at the age creeping on my face...i turned to my brother...who is an ordained buddhist monk...that if i wish to be the most successful with my own charity/business...my face first must always look beautiful...then my art/sculpture/ideas and charisma will follow...to back it up...he just smiled...a smile of neither right or wrong....i think because he understood that my 'cause' of wanting a beautiful face...would help the chances of the 'effect' of helping those who need it most...through my charity...
    I adore and become inspired by works of art/music/films/documentaries....but they are complete opposites of each other...from beauty/horror...pure/decay...love/rage...healthy/deranged and although i embrace and become inspired by all of these...the 'beauty' leaves me feeling high and motivated...but the 'horror' leaves me sad and dull....i am BPD and Bi-polar so it may explain my total likes in opposites...even in my own work....but beauty is peace...and peace is whole...and whole is our saviour x

  84. I agree that a lot of "modern art' is not beautiful - but its cool thats its out there as its challenging to our minds - I just wish ( & maybe our roger does too) there there was more of a preoccupation with creative & technically skillfull expressions or art/beauty - rather than the obession with the desire to shock...that will erode over time - as we have all just about seen it all with the advent of the internet..there will be nothing left to shock us that someone hasn't already posted on you tube.
    ....the HUGE point that this documentary completely ignored which I would have LOVED to see an argument about - is our modern pre-occupation with physical beauty - what does that mean???? Our needs to primp, pluck, inject, insert, pull-back, suck in, dye, bleach or swallow - so we look like what we used to ( or like the latest supermodel) - is that the pursuit of beauty? IS that creative? are our new faces & physiques art? as we are concentrate on our physical attractiveness to transcend the inevitability of death & decay - ?????h'mmm

    1. what do you think is beautiful a content old lady or man or an old lady or man trying trying to look 30. beauty is in the eye or the face of the beholder he touched on that ,

  85. Saying art should be beautiful is like saying art should not be beautiful. They are both statements that tell artists what to do and how to do it. Neither statement has anything to do with art as such. I think mr. Scruton is thinking of craftsmanship rather than of art - and I am not implying one is worth more than the other.
    Scruton explains that babies are beautiful. But babies are not art, are they? If one is unlucky, babies are very difficult to handle, disruptive little beings, plain ugly even. But even if they are, they are still not art. It is clear to me that Scruton needs to be a bit more exact in defining Art - and beauty for that matter.
    Contemporary art focusses too much on the ugliness of life, on ‚bad’ things, Scruton states. So at the end of his documentary he plays a piece of music that tells the story of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion. Which of course was an absolutely delightful event, so beautiful.
    Scruton unwillingly shows that beauty has nothing or little to do with art, not now, not a hundred years ago, not a thousand. And I agree. We do not need art to be surrounded by beauty. We may need art to help us see things from a different perspective, maybe.

    1. the beauty in that song was the sorrow for her dead son or husband because of how much she loved him. that would make you feel compassion communion a sense of oneness which is love , beauty. arts just a word

  86. I had watched the Mona Lisa Curse;it discusses the modern function of art as a commodity or economic functionary as Art loses its aesthetic value to its new role as a vehicle as speculative trade objects.Money has become the transcendent essence of Art..The correlation between artful rendering of Beauty as a spiritual or Godlike experience always seems to make the intellectuals uneasy as it defies quantification.The perciever is sensually overwhelmed,awestruck by a sensation which is indescribable in words.He's in the sublime.The words theoretical or industrial or even aesthetic cease to apply to the feeling,It's a rush
    But this is about Beauty..If humans suddenly vanished,what is Art?Nothing.It ceases to be. But is there still Beauty in a Universe devoid of humans?A beauty of cosmic dynamic perfection eternally transmuting even without the judgemental egotism of the puny human mind? Ha ha, what do you think?

    1. Beauty is an emotion, or a product of emotions. Saying beauty exists with the universe devoid of humans is like saying that you would have the concept of a penalty shootout in football, sans the existence of the game itself- a crude example, but you do get the point. There is no beauty in the universe per se. It is you and me who find the vastness of the universe poetic and beautiful.

    2. Well,I am reminded of the old question"If a tree falls in the forest,and no one is there to hear it,does it make a sound?"What I'm suggesting is that there is an inherent beauty in the Cosmos..whether we percieve it or not.That beauty (although its' PERCEPTION is in the eye of the beholder,and subjective to our experience of it)is the essence of the universe and will always be long after the last human dissapears from the earth.Beauty is.Art on the other hand.,is different.Like football would not exist without the players or fans,Art,and the appreciation of it is a human product.Art is a conduit;an expression which can reveal beauty.A stained glass masterpiece is beautiful,but loses its' meaning without the Sun.The majesty of the Sun is revealed by the art as the beauty of the glass is revealed by the light

  87. this documentry is useful, rodger scruton takes you on an ego trip and putting up and concluding a common, false, understanding of the world and beauty. The fall is obviously spiritualism, in which he uses as a golden ticket, whenever he approaches a difficult area somewhere in his argument underlies..the unknown beauty of god. This shows perfectly how not to go about a philosophical undertaking of Art and Beauty. Now if this documentry got you thinking but you have enough sense to know its nonsense, i can recommend two books: The invention of Art - larry shiner. Art and Aesthetics : the insitutional theory of Art- george dickie. have fun.

  88. The truth, as always is somewhere in the middle. However subjective beauty may be there is a universal basis to it. Why is a baby-elephant cute while a baby-lizard creepy?? we "look" thru filters that we have evolved to host.
    Mass influence is what defines the locus of evolution. Its fate is determined by the workability...what I mean to say, perhaps 2000years back a puny, baby- faced, male artist was never likely to get a mate as compared to a
    agressive muscular brut. But things change. Today we have something called a bank account!! Definition of beauty and 'attractive' change.

  89. I think the documentary success in proving exactly the opposite.The conceptual artist explains perfectly to this guy why the concept of beauty had developed through time to be no longer an aim on itself, and he answers back with sorry..stupid cliches. Ego trip

    1. Well,It IS difficult for me to defend the artistic value of a pisser in a lucite case....especially when you realise that in the men's room of the same museum there are six more exactly like it on the wall and THEY WORK..I imagine some of them are signed as well

  90. Ayn Rand would approve...this is the embodiment of Elsworth Toohey

  91. (repost from a mordern art doc, but it would have suited this video better)

    I find it such a hypocrisy, that these modern artists compare themselves with Michelangelo di Lodovico and Leonardo da Vinci, proudly putting the "Artist label" on them, displaying them alongside themselves in galleries all over the world. While on the other hand slapping down modern day comic artists, animators and concept artists as being commercial low-lives. Hardly offering them the smallest spotlight for their hard work.

    Are they forgetting that both Renaissance painters were doing paid work for a massive industry, the biggest and most corporate organization in the world really? That they are commercial themselves? Closer related to Stan Lee than Pablo Picasso.

    Art should be taken to heart by the meaning of the word ART itself, "techn?": which means "mastery of a craft" Pushing the human skills to their limits and creating worlds of beauty inside them.

    That we want to celebrate the odd and creative is just blessed, I'd dread a world without the puzzling insight of these people and their work, but when these preformers use acting and salesman ship to declare their superiority above all other types of artists.

    Well.. that gets me depressed.

  92. I personally do think that beauty is scare in the production of anything in the current world, simply because we live in a utilitarian world that has become very individualistic. Most modern artists want to be considered revolutionary, as their focus seems to be more on being recognized for an idea that they invented, instead of simply trying to present the beauty or the essence of something. Their art is simply a means to an end, the end being the appreciation of their inventiveness or creativity or randomness by others. I think that a piece of art should be an end in and of itself.

    Art is appreciated these days as something 'interesting', as opposed to something 'beautiful', whereas art before modern art was appreciated more as something 'beautiful'. While I do like something to be interesting and I also like something to be beautiful, I personally prefer art that is beautiful.

    Here, Roger Scruton is deliberately presenting a biased view, not to convince viewers of his views in a logical manner, but to inform the audience of his personal views, leaving it up to the audience to agree or not. As he knows that such a thing as beauty cannot be derived or explained using logic, he presents his viewpoint in a way that is not contradictory to that same viewpoint - in a more contemplative fashion. I think this is is what is turning off a lot of viewers from his viewpoint, because they think he is trying to present an argument but they don't see a logically structured argument in his presentation, and they are used to relying on that to judge whether to accept something or to reject it.

  93. very insightful, thoughtful comments here. :)

    the main problem, it would appear, with challenging the length and breadth of art as statement on the basis of deviation from some (any) aesthetic 'program' is that this effort is, at heart, fascist.

    someone mentioned the 'natural selection' aspect of things, and it was very apropos. if people hate 'ugly' so much, it will not achieve preeminence, beyond a momentary controversy.

    aesthetically, i have a lot of sympathy for the director's sense of loss - there is a lot of ugly architecture around. the cure is, probably, to create a new movement - his moaning is, in fact, a part of the process by which these ideas, and the art that is generated, evolves.

    put me down for the return of art-deco! :)

    1. Hehheh.Beauty.Art.Sympathetic but not the same.Art can be ugly,but Beauty,obviously,cannot..although beauty is found in chaos,violence and tragedy,as well as harmony,silence,and compassion.one day I was playing some Coltrane and my friend declared "This music is ugly!".I was amazed that not everyone could hear what I was hearing.Was I just deluded to think Coltrane was cool and that I was cooler for listening to him? Turns out,I had learned something about Beauty then.It's always out there if you're willing to see it

  94. Somewhere this took a really silly turn for me. I was completely agreeing with him, but then his baseless arguments finally ate away at me. The most basic and powerful element of beauty is that it is subjective. The end.

    Inherently whatever is most impressive will necessarily become most popular. Think of it like natural selection within the kingdom of art. If a can of sh&t were found to be beautiful by the majority, it would be. Thankfully that is not the case, and thus, this entire hour long tangent is unnecessary. If people want to pay a $10 admission to a gallery to view a urinal and they do not complain and/or never return, such 'nonsense' (as he would see it) would not exist.

    And as much as I enjoy the religious discussions - why the hell does that topic keep coming up in this film? Our concepts of beauty have absolutely nothing to do with religion, belief in religion, or anything remotely related to it with small exceptions such as its necessary inclusion in Plato's views.

    [* * - - - ] 2 stars

    1. HEAR HEAR!!

  95. All these conflicts can be resolved:
    1. Form vs. Function: Expand the idea of "function". For example, if a building needs to be functionally ecological, or to provide enough sunlight to worker's health etc. It will become more beautiful - just look at nature, which is so beautiful BECAUSE it is integrating a totality of function.

    2. Art is MIrror vs. Art is Ideal-Wish: Both approaches can be regarded as mirrors: One mirrors our difficulties, one mirrors our aspirations, longings.
    Both are ideals: one expresses a modernalienated 'ideal', the other kind expresses a more transcendent ideal. Neither is more real- a man reading the paper vs. a man smelling a rose - both are "real world".

    3. Beauty: This can be resolved by dividing it into 3 categories.
    * One is "elegance", like the elegance of a good chess game- cunning, intellectual, witty- this is the kind of Beauty Duchamp describes.
    * Second is Banal beauty - think Kitsch, Koons - its very "sweet" because it complies completely to being conventionally "pleasant" to the biased eyes. the banal is predictable, sweet, pleasant, not very individual (think barbie), and thus flat, accessible, blunt, and unchallanging.
    * Third kind of Beauty is Beauty as Revealing Otherness: Opposite of #2. The beauty of infinite particularity, that seems to "arrest" or "shift" the consciousness; it maintains a mystery that perpetuates the longer one gaze. it seems to be completely "itself" rather than mere imitation or mass-production.

    point is: ALL works of art can contain 3 kinds of beauty in varying degrees and levels. They usually contain at least two in varying levels. Number 3 can be seen into anything which is why Beauty can be so confusing.

    thank you

  96. I like how Scruton suggests that beauty is dead, but I believe that it is not because of two reasons :
    1. Beauty is infinite, it is found in an uncountable amount of places, people, nature.....but our appreciation of it is lacking in the western world, so our expression of it sucks.
    2. Expression of beauty changes by whatever region you are in the world, and the best work of beauty is found in where it is most appreciated. After all, the DARK AGES were the greatest period of art, architecture, scientific, and medical achievements for the middle east, and there discoveries in this era continue to benefit the world today. The question is...Has the ship sunk for the western world only to sprout in CHINA/ASIA, SOUTH AMERICA, AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST?

    Maybe we should pack our bags.

    1. @trumumin

      Interesting comment.

  97. This guy quotes Oscar Wilde but I wonder what he would think of Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray? I think it would be hard to make the argument that that book was written simply for beauty, especially as it is not particularly well written as novels go (the characters don't do much, there is little description of setting, and the characters speak in rediculously long passages; on paper it looks more like a play).

    But beyond that, the purpose of the novel is to point out the flaws in Victorian society. The attacks on marriage, the church, morality, and the blatant homosexual themes were: a) very very offensive (Wilde was imprisoned for the gay stuff) and b) clearly serve a purpose beyond beauty: Wilde was pointing out the hypocrisy of his audience. Clearly there is more there than beauty.

    Wilde's ideas are very interesting, and I think beauty is underrated, but beauty is a hell of a lot more than just what looks pretty. I personally find many derelict buildings beautiful, and anything that can truly disturb me is also usually beautiful, due to the incredible emotion it evokes.

    This guy seems like a pompous classist dick, but thats just me being pissed.

  98. Aesthetic objects invoke positive emotional and intellectual responses that make the observer want to extend or repeat the experience.

    There are also representational, expressive and formal qualities in beauty:

    In sculpture Michelangelo's David represents the elegance and proportion of the human form ; in art Turner's ocean's and sunset's represent the majesty and power of nature; in literature Shakespeare's representation of love in Romeo and Juliet invokes warm feeling and recognition of these feelings in the viewer.

    The composer expresses their feelings through the scales and intonation of the music hoping to impress them onto the listener; A young couple in love express their feelings and this invokes a positive emotional response in the observer.

    Beauty of form can also be seen in the interaction of simple components. Alliteration and anaphora in literature; Cadenza, repetition and nuance in music; Symmetry in the face of a beautiful woman; the elegance of a mathematical proof are all appreciated through their formal structure.

    Although none of these qualities fully grasp the complete essence of beauty and no complete definition exists one can peel away the outer layers of the onion and reveal the substratum of aesthetic objects using the aforementioned tools.

  99. I agree with S-Stern and Thomas Hogar, but I also want to add that this documentary fails on a few more levels. Mr. Scruton only shows the modern art that is already for many people on a gray area. There are so many modern artworks that are so beautiful that they take your breath away. Secondly, Beautiful art is only one tone of the art scale, we are exposed to so much beauty and harmony everywhere, in magazines, on TV, walking through a botanic garden. After all it's the masses that control what they want to view as art and some people don't want to see symmetric or pretty art all the time anymore, they want to see something frightful or funny once in a while too.

  100. i like it...there is beauty in it!
    looking at a baby, loosing someone, and falling in love actually made sense in me. An affirmation of old adage that real beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  101. It is not that we are losing beauty, it is that we are homogenizing beauty and it's opposite together. We are more and more allowing everything as art, inhibitions are dropped in all fields. It is left to the viewer to chose, the way a gardener would chose among the million of flowers and shrubs which he uses to decorate his surrounding.

    Beauty has a lot to do with energetic self regard and that is why it can surrender a message of "inner beauty" through art. In the end when an artist produce a magnum opus, it is a reflection of his self that is seen in the piece, and if that Self is tortured and dis-enchanted it will show those qualities and if that Self is harmonius and spirited it will show those qualities.
    I consider beauty to mean love, those two words are reflection of each other in a pond of energy.

  102. I have seen pictures of the metro stations in Moscow....and let me tell ya how much better it is to be in it than those in NYC.... so at least in terms of the world's architecture this man is right, at least to me.

    It is my point of view to have art as a pinnacle one aims for; a place that is inspired by its founders and true visionaries and only a select feel gets to experience the joys of being their pupils. This way art gets to be reveered, dreamed of, worshipped, and thus functions as a tool to destroy the still soul. I see this "high art" as much as I see it formula 1 racing.... or supermodels.... it is just better than normal isn't it?

    I can only hope that people won't soon be demanding to call their blogs "books"....

  103. Beauty of videos matters too. ...too bad it's in the wrong aspect ratio. it should be 16:9 but displays as 4:3 :(

  104. I agree with Scruton's premise that beauty is far more important than society today gives it credit for. I myself have thought about "form follows function" and how that should not necessarily be the case. I do, however, find Scruton's idea on what beauty is or can be quite narrow. A favorite recent movie of mine, No Country For Old Men, deals primarily with the ugliness of the world, yet I find it to be an extraordinarily beautiful film. Examples like that abound.

  105. Very euro-centric in his views - this docu is disingenuous to think that the 'beauty' created in the past was made by creative people for the sake of creating art. art for it's own sake and for that of feeling and emotion, divorced from the classical idealized view of reality is relatively new, starting with, i think, picasso and his african masks.

    when the classic beauty broke down and artists created for themselves (not for the church or wealthy patrons) and of what they saw around them, art became more about meaning and feeling, individual thoughts. i don't like the idea that art should be this pastoral soothing pacifier to keep the masses from realizing how dirty the world really is.

    1. couldnt agree more

    2. Yeah, but what about the value of quality and craftsmanship?
      "Sh!t in a can" might have some meaning to the "artist" who made it and to some of the people viewing it but there isn't any craftsmanship there at all. Just because you can manipulate some objects to make a statement doesn't make that art, does it?
      I think Roger Scruton is just trying to separate the "real artists" from the posers and not pushing any Euro-centric views.

    3. it ate my last reply so i have to keep this short. ^^;

      there is no such thing as a real artist. the definition of art has moved from 'created by the church for formal purposes' to expression of individuals trying to connect with other individuals.

      as an artist i can achieve quality and craftsmanship without reverting to the renaissance, which so many people on this board seem to think is the only form of art worth pursuing. (i make graphic novels and maquettes)

      and yes, his views are VERY euro-centric. because by his definition nothing else on the planet would be considered art unless it was created for the European eye.

    4. You're right, there aren't "real artists" but there are "real skilled craftspeople" that also happen to be artists and their combined skills and creativity make them all the more valuable and I don't think it has to be Euro themed and I don't think Roger Scruton thinks so either. Even though Roger didn't use Chinese porcelain or water colour paintings or Egyptian antiquities as examples. I'm sure he values their artistic merit. He's just upset about the lack of any type of standard passing off for art today.
      Think of Roger as the kid that pointed out to everyone that the emperor was walking the streets naked.

    5. actually i think that his silence on any other type of art - from any other continent other that Europe, specifically greek / roman / renaissance style - speaks volumes. and yes he is very euro-centric. and if he valued anything other than what he mentioned, he would have included it in the docu. if not, it's a huge issue that shouldn't be overlooked. and valuing something for its antiquity is quite different than valuing it for its aesthetic.

      and standard in art these days is all about money. no need to lay it at the feet of the artists. beauty and taste are all in the eye of the beholder.

      roger isn't telling he emperor he has no clothes - he's the snotty kid that takes the ball home when the other kids won't play by his rules ;P

    6. he also talked about how artists painted the natural world, they did not do this for religion. The real issue is art not being taken seriously when everything can now be called art. I believe art can be thought-provoking but should remain beautiful not a piece of garbage thrown together. I understand the desire for artists to break from the past and do something new but now that it has been done they should move on. Stop trying to shock us and make something beautiful already!!!

    7. "i don't like the idea that art should be this pastoral soothing pacifier to keep the masses from realizing how dirty the world really is."

      Because if you are living midst the dirt you might not realize it? That is absurd. Walking into an "art" gallery of this kind therefore becomes redundant.

  106. I think that Scruton has tunnel vision on the subject of art and beauty. I believe that the freedoms we have in art today are a wonderful gift. Sure there are artists who seem to have little talent and make quite a bit of money from their works but I think the flip side to the coin is that we can pursue a greater understanding of ourselves and the chance to convey a story or message. This may not be just about portraying something pleasing to the eye but a part of our history or to convey a message.

    As for beauty I think it has been held up as a value for far too long. The lengths that people are driven to to become this type of "beautiful" is leading us down a worse road than what the art of today is. The plastic surgeries and beauty products being sold to us in this quest for beauty is somewhat unobtainable and shallow. We have been sold this idea of beauty for too long. Not that I don't think that beauty does not hold its place because I find many art of today beautiful as many things in the world are but the beauty that Scruton seems to be concerning himself with more to do with class and etiquette than what beauty is really about.

  107. Ask most people what their definition of art is and you'll get a blank stare or a statement like "you can't define art". Hence, you have all these ridiculous 'works of art' like a urinal or a pile of bricks. I think that probably most of these supposed artists are just too lazy to get a different job...

    1. it's not the artists, it's the money. the money has no taste, and the artist creates for them, to get paid. when the money was the church and artists created for their tastes, they wanted the classics - when the money is some dime store nouveau rich wall street tycoon, then that's what you get.

      and artists work harder than you think. As an illustrator i can easily put in 12 hour days at my desk. and work doesn't stop. not for weekends or holidays...

    2. I understand your point. Supply meets demand... The curators and directors at the prominent galleries and museums provide the venue for 'modern art'. And the art critics are just working for their media company to sell magazines or newspapers. Most of these folks should be embarrassed at passing these works off as art. They act as if the public wants to see this stuff - like, hey, we're just fulfilling the demand...The 'artists' being the supply. Ever since the early 20th century art has really been about appealing to, as you say, the nouveau rich. A lot of modern art can be cranked out in much less time and hence it's a more lucrative business than the months and months of study, charcoal sketches, research and months of work and rework on the final piece. It's all tied into the moral degradation of the 20th century where honest hard work at your art is considered somewhat not creative or original. A lot of it moral hijacking. Go tell that to a ballerina or a musician... Do you really want to see a dancer who can't dance or a musician who can't play his or her instrument?? Now some of the modern interpretation of classic operas is another story... Honestly, I just find it insulting to my humanity to call some this stuff you find in a gallery 'art'... Just listen to that interview with Duchamp... or an interview with Piscasso or some other modern artist... it just lacks a sense of beauty or a respect for beauty. I feel like these guys are just laughing... Centuries ago there were crackpots like this but no one paid any attention to them. They were the village idiots but today or a few decades ago these folks were regarded as creative new forces. I've written enough. There really are still great artists out there but you've just gotta search for it. Thanks for reading this. Take care, Joe

    3. i take about half that. but dance isn't just ballet - it's now break dancing, and music isn't just motzart, it's scream rock.

      art and music are all about tastes and how they change. art has changed because the money behind it has changed - not the morals. the people who commissioned the sistine chapel weren't any more moral than people today are.

      beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we as individuals have no right to label beauty as having one definition that suites our individual opinions or tastes and dismissing the rest.

      as a graphic novelist, maquette sculptor and so called 'modern' artist i don't like being called a village idiot by you or by anyone because i don't conform to what renaissance era definition of beauty you think we all should enjoy. the 20th century was about freeing art for expression, not just conforming to the church.

  108. a 1 hour long rant about modern art.
    Beauty is not absent from todays world at all, we just made room for some ugly. deal with it.

  109. I disagree with Scruton regarding art. He wants art to be aristocratic and exclusive; he thinks only certain people can be artists and only certain things can be art. He then contradicts himself and says "beauty is an ordinary everyday kind of thing. Ordinary things made beautiful."

    Beauty IS an everyday thing. It happens everywhere all the time, even in a pile of bricks. I feel sorry for him if needs his beauty to be force fed by a Botticelli on a silver tray.

    While I can respect the talent and craft of Michelangelo it is little more than ornate fluff to me and does not engage me the way that conceptual art does. Art can mean different things to different people. To me it is language, and I enjoy the process of translation. And therein lies the spiritual for me, the connection from one person to another.

    By the way I think Piss Christ by Serrano is very beautiful.

    1. Art being about feeling and meaning, you hit the nail on the head. I like art to have a sense of imagination and wonder. Fine art is nice, but leaves me not feeling anything.

    2. ART is or can be in any task .....even cleaning a house or clothe can be done with an artistic mind ......
      But i do think , we sometimes analyse it too much !!
      In the case of " da vinci" its interresting to study coz its full of things to discover ........... but he was one of a kind
      Im an artistic producer, mixer ( music ) and sometimes music ISNT an art ..... Depending on the soul of the musician !!
      If u are an artist , whatever u do will b artistic ..... if not .... then nothing will be


    3. Art isn't exclusive now? Art has ALWAYS been exclusive and will continue to be. It is exclusive to those educated in the understanding and interpretation of it. Of course there are some pieces and styles more accessible on a superficial level than others, but real understanding of a piece of intelligent art requires a degree of education. If it was not possessed of this depth, it wouldn't be worth consideration.

      I think it is foolish to throw out any style. Sometimes, what you need is a symphony, other times it might be a bit of techno, other times a jig. There is a time and place for any style of art with depth and intelligence.

    4. One of Scruton's main point is that art is no longer exclusive.

    5. "He wants art to be aristocratic and exclusive; he thinks only certain people can be artists and only certain things can be art."

      He believes the essence of art is to convey beauty. That does not imply aristocracy or exclusivity. He uses as an example what children attempt to strive for when they create art as an example of the inner meaning it has for us all. You have COMPLETELY misunderstood him.

      "Beauty IS an everyday thing. It happens everywhere all the time, even in a pile of bricks."

      Then "art" that consists of a pile of bricks offers me nothing I can't see everyday. As Stoddart said of this kind of "art," if you walked by it along the road you wouldn't even notice. Merely framing the mundane does not communicate any sense that it becomes greater than something mundane.

      To quote Scruton, a real work of art makes ugliness beautiful and does not merely share ugliness.

      "By the way I think Piss Christ by Serrano is very beautiful"

      Then you have no taste.

    6. Aren't you also being "aristocratic and exclusive" by saying that only conceptual art is beautiful? In the same way that Scruton is saying only certain art is beautiful, you are saying that only some art is beautiful, such as the work by Serrano. But again you made the same contradiction as Scruton, saying beauty is everywhere, in a "pile of bricks" even, then saying that the works of Michelangelo are not beautiful but merely "orante fluff."