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Field Commanders in the Beauty Underground
The defenders and advocates of beauty, quoted in “Beauty makes a come-back”


Joel Garreau
“The Call of Beauty, Coming In Loud & Clear”

Joel Garreau

This compilation of quotes and opinions about the return of beauty in our culture came about mostly because of Joel Garreau. On February 19,   2002, he published an article in The Washington Post entitled: “ The Call of Beauty, Coming In Loud & Clear ”.   Although the return to beauty started around 1993, for many of us, it was Garrreau’s article that made it official, and that showed us the extent of the changes that are happening.   Copies of his article were circulated among us like a Samizdat in the old Soviet Union . Artists and art lovers called each other, asking “Did you see that report about beauty? And in The Washington Post, of all places?”

The collection of quotes above borrows very extensively from Garreau . The full Post article can be found here.

Joel Garreau is editor in charge of reporting about the future at TheWashington Post and writes for other publications such as Wired Magazine.   He is a senior fellow at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University .

To the public, he is better known as author of futurist books, such as Nine Nations of North America; Edge City – Life on the New Frontier; and his most recent book, Radical Evolution, a startling look into the future, the sudden changes that will soon  dramatically modify the human race.

To the academic and business worlds, Garreau is known as the founder of the Garreau Group, futurists . Their clients have included Volvo, Ford, Prudential, Allstate, Coca Cola, McDonalds, the University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, University of California, the Urban Land Institute, NBC, Steven Spielberg, Eastman-Kodak, Electrolux, Sears, IBM and TRW, The American Association of Advertising Agencies, the National Drug Manufacturers Association, Reason Foundation, plus companies and groups around the world, in Brazil, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada and Germany. All are looking for answers about how to position themselves to catch the future and make it happen. Garreau’s website will tell you more.

Thank you, Joel, for alerting us. As a reporter of the future, you bring us prophecies of culture, society, technology, and the destiny of the human race.


David Hickey
“I direct your attention to the language of visual effect – to the rhetoric of how things look – to the iconography of desire – in a word, ‘beauty’.”  

David Hickey

David Hickey, art critic and analyst of Western culture, writes entirely original perspectives on contemporary art, based on his encyclopedic knowledge of art history. His 1993 manifesto, The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty, is frequently cited as the turning point; the beginning of the end for post-modern cynicism; a turning point as art returns to beauty. His other books include  Air Guitar, Essays on Art and Democracy (1998), and Stardumb (1999). He has served as owner-director of A Clean Well-Lighted Place gallery in Austin , Texas , as director of the Reese Palley Gallery in New York City , as Executive Editor of Art in America Magazine in New York City , and as Contributing Editor to The Village Voice. He has written for most major American cultural publications including Rolling Stone, Art News, Art in America , Artforum, Interview, Harper's Magazine, Vanity Fair, Nest, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times..


Elaine Scarry
“ …We are not guessing: the evidence is in.”

Elaine Scarry

In 1998, Elaine Scarry, professor of aesthetics and the general theory of value at Harvard University , was invited to give the prestigious Tanner Lectures on Human Values. On Beauty and Being Just is based on her lectures. She chose as her topic beauty, well aware that it is an unfashionable subject to discuss. “Over the last several decades,” she notes, “many people have either actively advocated a taboo on beauty or passively omitted it from their vocabulary, even when thinking and writing about beautiful objects such as paintings and poems.”

She also published Dreaming by the Book; Resisting Representation; Literature and the Body; The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World.



Jules Olitski
“…the goal of art is delight. It grabs you; it takes you out of yourself, out of time. It is a unique experience.”

Jules Olitski

Jules Olitski, honoured in the art history texts as a central figure in the development of abstract and color field painting, is considered to be one of the greatest living painters. Born in Snovsk Russia in 1922, he is a painter and sculptor. He is one of the original color field painters who rose to prominence in the 1960s. Recognized as one of the masters of Color Field painting, Jules Olitski's development is a summation of tendencies present in post-World War II painting.


Frederick Turner
“The arts became obsessed with our bad conscience, about racism, classism, sexism, exploitation, capitalism, war, totalitarianism and our destruction of Mother Nature…”

Frederick Turner

Frederick Turner wrote the book “Beauty, the Value of Values” in 1991, two years before Dave Hickey’s manifesto.

As a poet he is known as founder of two influential movements in American poetry, the New Formalism and the New Narrative (sometimes named together as Expansive Poetry). His poetry has been translated to French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Hungarian, Italian, Rumanian, Macedonian, Russian, and Turkish.

As an athlete, Turner is a second-degree Shotokan karate black belt, and is a senior instructor in the martial arts.

As a scholar he has been recognized, cited, or published in the fields of literary and critical theory, comparative literature, anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, sociobiology, oral traditions, landscape architecture, photography, planetary biology, space science, performance theory, photography, education, the sociology of knowledge, ecological restoration, political philosophy, the physics of computation, theology, the history and philosophy of science and technology, translation theory, Medieval and Renaissance literature, media studies, architecture, and art history. He has been involved in groundbreaking studies of the neurobiology of esthetics, the ritual and performative roots of the arts, and the humanistic implications of evolution, ecology, recombinant DNA technology, space travel, artificial intelligence, brain science, and chaos theory. His book The Culture of Hope: A New Birth of the Classical Spirit assesses the chances for a revival of our cultural energies.

Oh, by the way, he is a consultant to NASA's long range planning group, and with Carl Sagan, conducted NASA workshops on Mars terraforming.

But mostly he’s a poet, whose epic poems reveal and reflect the nature of beauty.

Check out his website.

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