Esthetics
Finding Beauty in a Broken World
Finding Beauty in a Broken World
Paperback      ISBN: 0375725199

"Shards of glass can cut and wound or magnify a vision," Terry Tempest Williams tells us. "Mosaic celebrates brokenness and the beauty of being brought together." Ranging from Ravenna, Italy, where she learns the ancient art of mosaic, to the American Southwest, where she observes prairie dogs on the brink of extinction, to a small village in Rwanda where she joins genocide survivors to build a memorial from the rubble of war, Williams searches for meaning and community in an era of physical and spiritual fragmentation.

In her compassionate meditation on how nature and humans both collide and connect, Williams affirms a reverence for all life, and constructs a narrative of hopeful acts, taking that which is broken and creating something whole.
Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art
Aisthesis
Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art
Paperback      ISBN: 1781683085

Composed in a series of scenes, Aisthesis-Ranci re's definitive statement on the aesthetic-takes its reader from Dresden in 1764 to New York in 1941. Along the way, we view the Belvedere Torso with Winckelmann, accompany Hegel to the museum and Mallarm to the Folies-Berg re, attend a lecture by Emerson, visit exhibitions in Paris and New York, factories in Berlin, and film sets in Moscow and Hollywood. Ranci re uses these sites and events--some famous, others forgotten--to ask what becomes art and what comes of it. He shows how a regime of artistic perception and interpretation was constituted and transformed by erasing the specificities of the different arts, as well as the borders that separated them from ordinary experience. This incisive study provides a history of artistic modernity far removed from the conventional postures of modernism.

The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture
The Power of Limits
Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture
Paperback      ISBN: 1590302591

One of the delights of life is the discovery and rediscovery of patterns of order and beauty in nature--designs revealed by slicing through a head of cabbage or an orange, the forms of shells and butterfly wings. These images are awesome not just for their beauty alone, but because they suggest an order underlying their growth, a harmony existing in nature. What does it mean that such an order exists; how far does it extend?

The Power of Limits was inspired by those simple discoveries of harmony. The author went on to investigate and measure hundreds of patterns--ancient and modern, minute and vast. His discovery, vividly illustrated here, is that certain proportions occur over and over again in all these forms. Patterns are also repeated in how things grow and are made--by the dynamic union of opposites--as demonstrated by the spirals that move in opposite directions in the growth of a plant.

The joining of unity and diversity in the discipline of proportional limitations creates forms that are beautiful to us because they embody the principles of the cosmic order of which we are a part; conversely, the limitlessness of that order is revealed by the strictness of its forms. The author shows how we, as humans, are included in the universal harmony of form, and suggests that the union of complementary opposites may be a way to extend that harmony to the psychological and social realms as well.
Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime
Blue Arabesque
A Search for the Sublime
Paperback      ISBN: 0156033119

Just out of college, Patricia Hampl was mesmerized by a Matisse painting she saw in the Art Institute of Chicago: an aloof woman gazing at goldfish in a bowl, a mysterious Moroccan screen behind her. This woman seemed a welcome secular version of the nuns of Hampl's girlhood, free and untouchable, a poster girl for twentieth-century feminism. In Blue Arabesque, Hampl explores the allure of that woman, immersed in leisure, so at odds with the increasing rush of the modern era. Her tantalizing meditation takes us to the Cote d'Azur and North Africa, from cloister to harem, pondering figures as diverse as Eug ne Delacroix, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Katherine Mansfield. Returning always to Matisse and his obsessive portraits of languid women, Hampl discovers they were not decorative indulgences but surprising acts of integrity.

Moving with the life force that Matisse sought in his work, Blue Arabesque is a dazzling tour de force.
What We See When We Read
What We See When We Read
Paperback      ISBN: 0804171637
A San Francisco Chronicle and Kirkus Best Book of the Year

A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading--how we visualize images from reading works of literature, from one of our very best book jacket designers, himself a passionate reader.

What do we see when we read? Did Tolstoy really describe Anna Karenina? Did Melville ever really tell us what, exactly, Ishmael looked like? The collection of fragmented images on a page--a graceful ear there, a stray curl, a hat positioned just so--and other clues and signifiers helps us to create an image of a character. But in fact our sense that we know a character intimately has little to do with our ability to concretely picture our beloved--or reviled--literary figures. In this remarkable work of nonfiction, Knopf's Associate Art Director Peter Mendelsund combines his profession, as an award-winning designer; his first career, as a classically trained pianist; and his first love, literature--he considers himself first and foremost as a reader--into what is sure to be one of the most provocative and unusual investigations into how we understand the act of reading.
Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
Wabi-Sabi
For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers
Paperback      ISBN: 1880656124

From the Introduction
Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
It is a beauty of things modest and humble.
It is a beauty of things unconventional.
The immediate catalyst for this book was a widely publicized tea event in Japan. The Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi has long been associated with the tea ceremony, and this event promised to be a profound wabi-sabi experience. Hiroshi Teshigahara, the hereditary iemoto (grand master) of the Sogetsu school of flower arranging, had commissioned three of Japan's most famous and fashionable architects to design and build their conceptions of ceremonial tea-drinking environments. Teshigahara in addition would provide a fourth design. After a three-plus-hour train and bus ride from my office in Tokyo, I arrived at the event site, the grounds of an old imperial summer residence. To my dismay I found a celebration of gorgeousness, grandeur, and elegant play, but hardly a trace of wabi-sabi. One slick tea hut, ostensibly made of paper, looked and smelled like a big white plastic umbrella. Adjacent was a structure made of glass, steel, and wood that had all the intimacy of a highrise office building. The one tea house that approached the wabi-sabi qualities I had anticipated, upon closer inspection, was fussed up with gratuitous post- modern appendages. It suddenly dawned on me that wabi-sabi, once the preeminent high-culture Japanese aesthetic and the acknowledged centerpiece of tea, was becoming-had become?-an endangered species.
Admittedly, the beauty of wabi-sabi is not to everyone's liking. But I believe it is in everyone's interest to prevent wabi-sabi from disappearing altogether. Diversity of the cultural ecology is a desirable state of affairs, especially in opposition to the accelerating trend toward the uniform digitalization of all sensory experience, wherein an electronic "reader" stands between experience and observation, and all manifestation is encoded identically.
In Japan, however, unlike Europe and to a lesser extent America, precious little material culture has been saved. So in Japan, saving a universe of beauty from extinction means, at this late date, not merely preserving particul

On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a Series of Letters
On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a Series of Letters
Paperback      ISBN: 019815786x

Schiller's 1795 essay on the educative function of art is one of the most important contributions to the history of ideas in modern times. This English-German parallel text edition includes a long analytical introduction and extensive notes.

Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything
Ugly
The Aesthetics of Everything
Hardcover      ISBN: 1468307169

Is ugliness only skin-deep, or can something that is beautifully engineered--a B52 bomber or a Colt .45--also be ugly, if its function is to kill or to maim? What was "Degenerate Art" and why was it deemed such? Why are mountains seen as sublime expression of nature, when only two hundred years ago they were regarded as loathsome things to be avoided at all costs? Just what is the relation, if any, between tattoos and crime? And lastly, if there were no ugliness in the world, would there be any beauty? Stephen Bayley, in his singular and at times tongue-in-cheek style, questions and explains the aesthetics of everything.
Passing Strange and Wonderful: Aesthetics, Nature, and Culture
Passing Strange and Wonderful
Aesthetics, Nature, and Culture
Hardcover      ISBN: 1559632097

In this rich and rewarding work, Yi-Fu Tuan vividly demonstrates that feeling and beauty are essential components of life and society. The aesthetic is not merely one aspect of culture but its central core -- both its driving force and its ultimate goal.Beginning with the individual and his physical world, Tuan's exploration progresses from the simple to the complex. His initial evaluation of the building blocks of aesthetic experience (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch) develops gradually into a wide-ranging examination of the most elaborate of human constructs, including art, architecture, literature, philosophy, music, and more.

Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science, and Evolution
Survival of the Beautiful
Art, Science, and Evolution
Paperback      ISBN: 1608193888

"The peacock's tail," said Charles Darwin, "makes me sick." That's because the theory of evolution as adaptation can't explain why nature is so beautiful. It took the concept of sexual selection for Darwin to explain that, a process that has more to do with aesthetics than with the practical. Survival of the Beautiful is a revolutionary new examination of the interplay of beauty, art, and culture in evolution. Taking inspiration from Darwin's observation that animals have a natural aesthetic sense, philosopher and musician David Rothenberg probes why animals, humans included, have innate appreciation for beauty-and why nature is, indeed, beautiful.