Beauty and Ugliness

I’ve been thinking recently about the near-total exhaustion of contemporary white-wall gallery art (even the paintings — see any recent issue of Modern Painters, for instance). Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal points out a small-p political dimension to this, in “Beauty and Ugliness”

“Our view of the world has become so politicized that we think that the unembarrassed celebration of beauty is a sign of insensibility to suffering — and that exclusively to focus on the world’s deformations, its horrors, is in itself a sign of compassion.”