Time for debate over beauty and art

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 April, 2011, 12:00am


The two concepts of beauty and art have never lived far from one another and are, indeed, rarely spotted alone. It could be said that beauty can exist without art: natural landscapes or a human body, for instance, are not works of art, but we pore over them nevertheless. Perhaps a more interesting question then, is whether art can live without beauty.

To judge art from a historical viewpoint, it can easily appear that the works with most longevity are the beautiful ones (no doubt art historians might not agree). A wander through classical art museums, however, will not turn up many ugly images, no matter how hideous the content of the image. Yet of course there are exceptions and, anyway, even if most classical art is beautiful, it doesn't answer the question of whether art must be beautiful.

It is probably a good job then that four great minds will meet to debate precisely this sentiment at Asia's annual Intelligence Squared gathering.

The 'art must be beautiful' debate will take place amid the hullabaloo of the annual Hong Kong Art Fair, to offer a bit of brain exercise after all the treats the eyes will receive during the fair's schedule. Debaters include photographer David LaChapelle and media artist Ming Wong.

Lars Nittve, executive director of M+ at the West Kowloon Cultural District, will ensure that shoes don't go flying amid the debate.

May 27, 7pm, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, HK$300. Inquiries: 6209 7957