In Defense of Beauty

The triennial at the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, titled Why Design Now?, runs through January 2011.

From Tom Styrkowicz:
I agree with Karrie Jacobs’s sentiments in “Too Virtuous” (July/August 2010, p. 42). For a few years now, I have bemoaned the emphasis on “green” design to the exclusion of all else. Can’t we be at a point where responsibility, however you define it, is the lowest bar and then add all those things that design should trumpet—imagination, innovation, beauty, cleverness, wit, charm, etc.? Engineers can make something functional. I believe the role of the designer is to build on that and give us things like no one has imagined before. That’s what we should be celebrating and exhibiting.

From Jeff Bianco:
As a culture, we laud the cheap and the glamorous. In your role as an arbiter and promoter of better design, I encourage you to maintain your advocacy for socially responsible, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing solutions. Keep up the good fight.

From Tuija Seipell:
Interesting reflection on the “goodness fatigue” we feel. It’s not that we want to be bad, or that we do not appreciate, value, support, and participate in doing good; we just don’t want to be preached at. Good can be—and should be—fun too. And fun, beauty, and great visual design are not inherently bad or frivolous. But, alas, I’m preaching …

From Christy Stadelmaier:
Just when I thought it no longer existed in our everyone-gets-a-gold-star culture, I was pleasantly surprised to see healthy design criticism. I have not seen this particular iteration of the design triennial, but the one I did see appeared to be the bastard offspring of political correct-ness and chauvinism; apparently, the latest is no different. The fact that the desire for visual beauty is universal has been largely forgotten. The wise voice and oversight of Dianne Pilgrim is missed at the Cooper-Hewitt.

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