New Times, New Beauty Myths

The newest exhibition at The Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Center in Gijon, Spain, aspires to do a number of difficult things. On the outset, the show--which is entitled 'It's Simply Beautiful'--attempts primarily to ask what constitutes beauty. This ageless question is complicated in today's art world, where artists blend a variety of media and practices, and where beauty is at times dismissed as low-brow and at other times entirely overlooked in the discussion of seemingly more process-oriented new media art. Curators Peter Doroshenko and Jerome Sans have put together a show that not only approaches these challenges directly, but also asks broader, deeper questions about the transcultural collaboration that they see at the heart of contemporary art, as artists borrow from each others' traditions. The old expressionist model of beauty, they argue, is not germane to interpreting this work, as it implies the presence of a singular voice coming from a singular community. In bringing together artists from France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Thailand, they insist, 'We are in the midst of globalizing forces foreclosing some forms of cultural life and opening up others, and they ask, 'What are the aims of culture in a globalized world?' Large-scale installations by Carlos Coronas, Dzine, Surasi Kusolwong, Mark Titchner, and Fabien Verschaere will flesh-out and problematize these questions, though October 22nd of this year. The curators' hope is that the answers suggested will 'determine how we conduct ourselves as artists and citizens.' - Marisa Olson