Stephen Bayley
Overlook Press, New York, 2013, English
Design, General
7 x 9.5 inches, hardcover
ISBN: 9781847960368

From the Publisher. What is "ugly"? Sourcing centuries of art, design, and cultural history, and citing examples as wide-ranging as Soviet-era architecture and Frankenstein's monster to the World's Ugliest Dog and the so-called jolie-laide of the human species, Stephen Bayley, one of the world's leading commentators on design and popular culture, probes the fascinating and timeless question: Is there such a thing as ugliness . . . or are aesthetic judgments purely a matter of taste?

Is ugliness only skin-deep, or can something that is beautifully engineered--a B52 bomber or a Colt .45--also be ugly, if its function is to kill or to maim? What was "Degenerate Art" and why was it deemed such? Why are mountains seen as sublime expression of nature, when only two hundred years ago they were regarded as loathsome things to be avoided at all costs? Just what is the relation, if any, between tattoos and crime? And lastly, if there were no ugliness in the world, would there be any beauty? Stephen Bayley, in his singular and at times tongue-in-cheek style, questions and explains the aesthetics of everything.

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