'If images don't do anything in this culture, if they haven't done anything, then why are we sitting here in the twilight of the twentieth century talking about them? If they only do things after we talked about them, then they aren't doing things,we are.
Therefore, if our criticism aspires to anything beyond soft science, the efficacy of images must be the cause of criticism and not it's consequence, the subject of criticism and not it's object.And this, I concluded rather grandly, is why I direct your attention to the language of visual affect, to the rhetoric of how things look-to the iconography of desire-in a word to beauty!.
I made a voilà gesture for punctuation, but people were filing out.My fellow panelists gazed into the dark reaches of the balcony or at their cuticles. I was surprised. Admittedly, it was a goof. Beauty? Pleasure? Efficacy? The Issue of the Nineties? Outrageous. But it was an outrage worthy of rejoinder-of a question or two, or a nod, or at least a giggle. Instead, I had inadvertently created this dead zone, this silent abyss.'
David Hickey, 'Entering the Dragon' in The Invisible Dragon-Essays on Beauty, Foundation For Advance Cultural Studies, 1993.