How Beauty Matters

In Lee B. Brown David Goldblatt (ed.), Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts. Routledge (forthcoming)
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How do we view, understand and appreciate a complex and challenging work of visual art such as Leon Mostovoy's Transfigure and how, in our encounter with it, does beauty matter? Transfigure Project--a 2013 book, film and photographic installation that is now also an interactive website ( "a project of corporal self-expression, presented as an experimental, visual feast" by which 'transfigure' means "to transform into something more beautiful or elevated." Photographs of fifty nude trans-identified figures can be playfully arranged in numerous combinations; a woman's head can appear over a post-op torso over a pelvis with penis. The result, according to the artist, is "A celebration of bodies that transcend the gender binary" and shatter stereotypical notions of beauty. How does the meaning of Transfigure challenge and subvert traditional theories in aesthetics?
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