The Return of Beauty

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They tell us beauty is back, or maybe it actually never left. It’s just that we lost our ability to see, understand, and talk about it, obsessed as we have been with making our machines run faster, buildings more efficient, and making things for the sake of selling them.

We have not stopped long enough to smell, see, and celebrate the beautiful. While the traditional keepers of the flame in the academy, museums, and studios abandoned beauty for an art of social critique, beauty survived in the marketplace where it has been exploited for its ability to sell cars and condos.

Now, a “back to beauty” revival is brewing. What’s more, there is talk in the academy of a universal language for beauty, a way of understanding and interpreting this value of all values.


Elaine Scarry, Professor of Aesthetics at Harvard University

Moshe Safdie, architect

Bill Beckley, conceptual artist