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Painting by Numbers:
Since the days of the ancient Greek philosophers, people have asked the eternal question "What is beauty?" It took the insight of Russian artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid to apply modern scientific principles to this problem and finally to produce an answer. Using polls conducted by telephone in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, Komar and Melamid were able to determine what each country wanted to see in a painting, and what was least likely to please the public. They then produced canvases based on their polling, creating the most and least wanted paintings in the world. The results are not only funny, they are also oddly disturbing. Almost every nation had the same preferences: people wanted landscapes, and did not want abstract art. Only one nation bucked the trend, but you'll have to read the book to find out which. Painting by Numbers has more insight into art and commerce than any 10 dry studies of aesthetics, and is one of the most significant documents on popular taste ever produced--plus it's a laugh riot. And that, Plato, is beauty. [via]