Roger Scruton had a documentary/ report/ essay on BBC a couple of months ago called Why Beauty Matters. It’s about how the idea of beauty in art is/has been lost/ abandoned.
I agree pretty much with the views expressed in that. People on the whole have become too cynical for beauty in Art. As with in all other artistic areas these days, I would suggest the portrayal of negative attributes is what is often most highly praised.
Most “modern art” (at least the most popular kind) is a jaded death spasm of an urge to rebel, which itself is now nothing more than conformity because few people have the courage to portray Beauty or Happiness or pleasant scenes or thoughts or actions when the Art world is expecting -and only allows- “mind-pricks” with a particular message or non-message or a cynical “dare to nay-say this!”
Beauty in modern art is often used only as a counterpoint to the pain and suffering of others or to come or that has been. It is rarely the focus, the raison d’etre. Beauty is too subjective, and so, too many people might not “get it”.
Death and Fear and disdain and cynicism are more universally shared commodities.
It’s hard to dismiss a portrayal of Death or a work of art that justifies itself simply as “a bit of a mess”. To criticise -or even discuss- this last one is lending it credence and adds to the mockery and disdain of my personal view and ‘wants’ from Art.
That’s not to say “it’s not Art” -but just that it’s nothing I care to talk about or debate.
Feel free to enjoy it yourself. Sleep in it for all I care.
A work that is made to “uplift” is nowadays dismissed precisely because of the bland, homogenised, compartmentalised, formulaic, “digital” view of the world. Everything is labelled and put in its box for easy consumption. Want “uplifting”? Go to Disney or see a Ron Howard movie.
But those places we are “supposed to” go to for that uplifting experience are themselves the greatest distributors of Cynicism and Formula and disdain. They languish in Politically Corrective strategy groups, paring edges off anything that might offend, almost always leaving nothing but the bare bones of a thread that will “appeal to” (which now means little more than ‘not offend’) as wide an audience as possible (which translates as ‘doesn’t have any nipples in it because granny might have a heart attack if she knows the 3-year-old suspects women have breasts!’)
Here’s the programme I mentioned above