The City: Beautiful?

Is it okay yet to talk about cities and beauty in the same breath? Teacher Karrie Jacobs finds an astonishing lack of reading material for her class on aesthetic beauty and the built environment.
September 15, 2010, 2pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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Jacobs writes,

"I had assumed that the wholesale rejection of beauty was something we'd worked our way through in the 1990s, when the great art critic Dave Hickey wrote The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty, in which he tried-valiantly-to reinsert the notion of beauty into art discourse. I guess if I'd thought about it, if I'd taken into account much of what is happening in museums and galleries, where artworks are often didactic to a fault and intentionally ugly, or in the design world, where, as I've recently noted, virtue has triumphed over style, I would have realized that beauty is still suspect."

Jacobs is surprised to find that many of her students are antagonistic to the whole idea of beauty, even as she sees the work of city planners, urban designers and architects shifting to a focus on beauty.

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Published on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 in Metropolis Magazine
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