In his essay “Of the Standard of Taste”, David Hume mused:
“Beauty is no quality in things themselves:
It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them;
and each mind perceives a differentbeauty.”
As part of a joint session of the Edinburgh Aesthetics Reading Group and theInstitute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, I presented a paper which investigated (and criticised!) Hume’s now-popular claim that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The discussion was phenomenal, and we decided it deserved a much larger forum. Following on from this paper, I then became part of the Advisory Committee on this exhibit at the Talbot Rice Gallery, in Edinburgh, which investigated the concepts of beauty, taste, and subjectivity in the visual arts. Featured works by L. S. Lowry, Giorgio Morandi, Yoko Ono, Francis Picabia, Thea Djordjadze, Callum Innes, and Sir Basil Spence, including others, became the starting point for a variety of offshoot lecture series, a guest speaker symposium, and a 3-day session on beauty through Edinburgh’s Innovative Learning Week.
The response to the exhibit was overwhelming. See below for selected press coverage.