Extra Credit: Linda Weintraub Lecture/Jasmine Huynh

Linda Weintraub gave a lecture entitled “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” Professor Vesna gave her a beautiful introduction, and I was surprised to learn that Weintraub was once Professor Vesna’s mentor and adviser. I learned that Weintraub was both an author and an artist.

Professor Vesna mentioned that Weintraub lives a very “green” lifestyle. In other words, she cares deeply for the environment, and chooses to show her passion through her lifestyle. I think this is admirable because few people actually practice what they preach. Weintraub began her presentation with a general definition of beauty. She said that there are different definitons for beauty, depending on the context. The ecological defintion states that beauty is “how something functions.” The sociological defintion states that beauty is more than just how something appears; it is how we tend to assess worth to a person, object or place. We tend to care more and invest more time into things that are beautiful, while we neglect and abuse things that we regard as ugly.

She then went through a series of artists and their projects who successfully displayed different aspects involved in beauty. Her first artist of discussion, Andy Goldworthy, creates beauty using nature. He uses nature as his studio, literally. His work is conducted outdoors and uses his hands, not tools, to show what he considers to be beautiful. He separates what is human made from what is made industrially. Mainly, he likes human interference and prefers simple scape over complex tasks. I think that this example of hers was most memorable because I really liked the work of Andy Goldworthy. He uses a creative medium to express his ideas. I like that he thinks outside the box–he doesn’t just use watercolor and canvas. I also like the fact that he uses nature as his studio; it allows him to get fresh air and work at the same time which is something I envy. It’s refreshing to see that unique work like his.

The rest of Linda Weintraub’s lecture was spent discussing artists similar to Andy Goldworthy, such as Marta de Meneces and Eduardo Kac with his GFP bunny. Toward the end of her lecture, she started to describe individuals who made lifestyle changes to express their beliefs, which is not unsimilar to what Linda Weintraub did herself.

¬†One of these individuals was named Ji Yong Lee. She changed her diet to make urine to water her plants, since it was found that urine is most ideal for plant growth. She grew cabbage, and then offerred it to viewers to eat. Linda Weintraub cited this example as not only a “lead by example” tale, but also a question. Are Lee’s actions considered beautiful for her ecosystem?

I thought this lecture related well to the class for several reasons. Firstly, Linda Weintraub was Professor Vesna’s mentor, so we were able to see how she developed her ideas and what type of culture she developed her career in. Secondly, I thought that this lecture pertained to many of our in-class lectures in which we talked about different types of art. What is beautiful to one person isn’t necessarily beautiful to another.

Lastly, I really do agree that society tends to care more for beautiful things than those which we consider ugly.

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