WELCOME TO ISSUE 2. B E A U T Y I S T H E N E W. FEATURING.
GREGORY VINCENT ST. THOMASINO
KANE X. FAUCHER + JOHN MOORE WILLIAMS
Beauty is contentious. Take Plato’s Phaedrus.
A man beholds a beautiful boy and starts spinning uncontrollably,
grovelling in worship, and literally grows feathers along his shoulder
blades in reaction. Dante doesn’t fare much better when merely at the
sight of Beatrice is he gripped by an uncontrollable trembling in Vita Nuovo.
Beauty is ascribed the power to profoundly, almost grotesquely,
transform. Yet at the very height of its power, it is stripped of it.
Enter Immanuel Kant, who seizes beauty and pits it against the sublime
to declare it the inferior, an accusation so famous it still resounds 2
centuries later. The beautiful is suddenly regarded askance, aligned
with the decorative, accused of falsity and why not? It is a bobble
once adored now quaint, relegated to storage. The so-called ‘era of
taste’ is superceded by the ‘era of meaning,’ reaching its apex in the
modernist readymade – it is finally left to Marineti to announce in his
1905 Futurist Manifesto that “except in struggle, there is no more beauty.”
the calendar year. As if after a 2-century-long-sleep, something begins
to stirr. Saul Ostrow entitles an essay "The Eternal Problem of
Beauty's Return" while Arthur C. Danto publishes a full-length work on The Abuse of Beauty.
It is perhaps Craig Dworkin who sums it up best when he writes, "' My
darling, your beauty is replacing irony'" in "The Restlessness of
Language," or the musician Joan as Policewoman, who boldly publishes on
her myspace page: “beauty is the new punk rock.” Well,
issue 2 of Dear Sir, has
been curated around a beauty re-awakened, slightly tousled, hungry and
fresh to the fray. Punk? Beauty's been called worse. Here are pieces
ranging from the more traditional to the avant-garde, where the
dissonant, the stuttering, the frenetic and the flawed are not held as
qualities against which beauty wilts but rather included in its
re-awakened, even strengthened, form. For a beauty in danger, as Warhol
once told us, is simply more beautiful. Think the word breath-taking.
And bon appétit.