Vincent van Zon
Sue Lipschitz Sculpture
Vincent van Zon
|Ugly is the New Beauty
poets are always asking, where do the little roses go, underneath the snow
but no one ever thinks to say, where do the little insects stay
this is because, as a general rule, roses are more handsome than insects
beauty has the best of it in this world
from “unjust” by Don Marquis, author of Archy & Mehitabel
Beast: the thing with twitching feelers that scuttles away from the light when you step into the kitchen after last night’s
Beauty: the flutter of gossamer wings that quickens your pulse as it alights on a petal in Springtime.
Beast: the drooling mass of matted fur that skulks towards the carrion under moonlight.
Beauty: the sleek, swift ripple of sinew and muscle that cuts through the savannah like wildfire.
Crocodile vs dolphin. Ibis vs eagle. Stallion vs camel. Pot-bellied pig vs panda. Seriously now, which would you choose?
From the moment of birth, we are hard-wired to favour grace and flair and symmetry, whether in the wild or in the nature
of our own species.
We look on beauty as a gift and a talent, and even as we concede that its depth is strictly epidermal, we cannot help but
equate it with goodness and nobility of spirit. We hold no Ugly Contests to choose our models and role-models, and even in
the grittier realm of politics, good looks will win you more X’s than the promises everyone knows you are probably not
going to keep.
Beauty, as Archy the cockroach sighs, has the best of it in this world, and anyone who disputes that notion should be wary
of being trampled underfoot. But wait a second. What if we’ve been wrong all along? What if our wires somehow got
crossed in the womb?
What if beauty, true beauty, was a Rorschach blot of green with fried-egg eyes, or a totem-pole block of orange with offkilter
arms, or a bald-headed blob of blue with a slot-machine lever for an appendage?
What if, when we saw King Kong or Frankenstein’s Monster coming towards us, we didn’t widen our eyes and run away
screaming, but we stood our ground, extended a hand, and invited them over for dinner?
These questions will answer themselves when you cast your gaze upon the Five Musketeers of Richard Scott’s restless,
feverish imagination. They are a roguishly irresistible crew, as startled to see us as we are to see them, and not even the
semi-naked sirens posing in their shadow can distract us from their cartoonish-coloured charms.
Yes, beauty has the best of it in this world, but step away from that world and into this one, and you will see that the
Beast, in the end, will always happily ever after have Beauty.
Journalist and author, is an art collector of modest means and exquisite taste. He lives in his own private
contemporary art gallery, surrounded by Richard Scotts, in Johannesburg.
Taken from Richards Book 2005