The Triennial of Beauty at the Cooper Hewitt Museum

Beauty is a complex construct that consists of a number of attributes that please the eye and the aesthetic senses. It can be determined by the symmetry of the face, skin color, age, race, gender, body shape, and weight. It is also influenced by culture and society. This triennial at the Cooper Hewitt Museum explores the many forms of beauty. But what is beauty? How can we define what beauty is?


The definition of beauty varies considerably from culture to culture, but all agree that it is a positive quality. Despite being subjective, beauty is a universal quality that can be felt and appreciated by anyone. As such, we should not limit our definition of beauty to the physical appearance of things or even to the appearance of people. Objects, places, and situations may be beautiful, but they are not always beautiful. And while beauty is often a universally recognized trait, it has a cultural context.

The ancient Greeks valued beauty and considered themselves to be beautiful. The goddess Helen of Troy was said to be the most beautiful woman in Greek mythology. And ancient Greek architecture is based on proportion and symmetry. Ultimately, beauty is the expression of what is best in the world. And as such, beauty is the perception of how something looks. We have many ways to perceive beauty, and we can express it in many ways. So, we should not limit our interpretation of beauty to our own personal experience.