Extra Credit: Linda Weintraub- By Mary Tam

Who knew the word beauty can be used in many different ways? Linda Weintraub gave a lecture on beauty. While I was listening to her lecturing, it made me think of what the real definition of beauty meant. She was trying to inform us that beauty means it looks nice, it is eye pleasing, vibrant, etc. According to the Webster dictionary, it defines beauty as “the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).” What Weintraub was trying to say is similar to this definition. Beauty is from a visual and sensory perspective. People often look for beautiful and pretty things but neglect the ugly things. Many stories and movies often reinforce this. For example, The Ugly Duckling, is a children’s book about how the duck was born “ugly” and was neglected and often made fun of. It was not until the duck turned into a beautiful duck; the duck is finally recognized and is no longer being ignored. This is an example of what I interpreted from Linda Weintraub. She also goes in depth of how death and decaying represents unattractiveness and unpleasantness.

Linda Weintraub brings up many examples of artists who mainly focus on life and death, and how they find aesthetics in that. When she mentioned that in her lecture, it made me think of the previous topics that Professor Vesna discussed. Gunther von Hagens is a scientist and an artist who exhibits his art work or scientific studies on the human body. These models are deceased humans who donated their bodies to the science world. Hagens does an excellent job in preserving the physical and tangible part of humans even though the spiritual part is no longer part of the body. I believe that the bodies are art because they show others how the human body looks like and help us understand how the body functions. Death does not represent ugly and disgust, but it brings up a new topic of what happens to us after we are no longer in this world. Life and death is a point that Linda tries to bring across to us. And many artists today also try to do the same. Beauty is an opinion and one’s interpretation. I find another artist very interesting. He is from Japan and his name is Yukinori Yanagi. There are many art pieces where he puts together the broken pieces of a picture. His theme is symbols. I translate his work of art as putting back together things that are no longer important. We have a problem with this today. When things are broken, we think it is worthless and we want to get rid of it. Just because we think it looks ugly that does not mean we have to replace it. People today are very superficial.

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