Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hopkins and duchamp on beauty and urinals



"I threw the bottle-rack and the urinal into their faces as a challenge
and now they admire them for their aesthetic beauty.
"

-Marcel Duchamp

About a hundred years earlier poet Gerard Manley Hopkins commented on finding beauty in urinals: "...the slate slabs of the urinals even are frosted in graceful sprays."

Duchamp, because he was a modern atheist, didn't understand that we live "...in a world not vague, not lonely, Not governed by me only." (Richard Wilbur)

A world where "beauty is there, abroad in the order of things, given again and again in a way that defies description and denial with equal impertinence." (David Bentley Hart)

Duchamp, like many modernists and atheists, is confused by things like this, for disbelieving in God, he must still live in a God-made world.

Atheism would be easier and make more sense if the atheist did not live and move and have his being in God, but as things stand, he'll have to get used to inconsistencies and the surprising intrusion of beauty.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Van Fundy said...

I love the Wilbur poem "On Having Misidentified a Wildflower." It pretty much nails it.

It reminds me of Dana Gioia's poem "Words" I once heard him read on a Mars Hill Audio interview.

3/17/2007 2:15 PM  
Anonymous The Aesthetic Elevator said...

Thanks for checking out my blog! Looks like I need to take a hard look at yours too . . .

3/27/2007 6:09 PM  

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