The Easel

Archives: Katy Kelleher

7th August 2018

Ugliness Is Underrated: In Defense of Ugly Paintings

Ugliness has its virtues. Deliberately ugly art has had many uses – a warning against sin, danger or disease. Da Vinci wanted his grotesque figures to flatter those he thought beautiful. Now ugly is its own aesthetic category and part of the canon.  “Beauty and ugliness do not negate each other. [Ugly works] aren’t about pleasing anyone [but] about discomfort … desire gone awry.”