Beauty has had a "checkered past." For the French Impressionists, Romanticists, and turn of the century 19th-20th century culture, beauty was pleasure. It was a way to unwind from the grind of urban life. Beauty was thought as a measure of truth. By the end of 20th century the ArtWorld had shunned beauty, as merely disguising a Fruedian pleasure principle.
Slavoj Žižek points out that as beauty lost favor with the artists, it became increasingly valued by scientists in the beginning of the 21st century. And in a similar turn of fate scientists, who prior to Einstein's Theory of Relativity had sought after the "real," abandoned hard reality as a merely a series of probabilities in the quantum fluctuations. It is after this turn, that artists then picked up a post-modern interest the "real," in the challenge of exposing the real.
There is all kinds of research about human beauty as a measure of the accurate unfolding of human genes, and thus we find beauty in successful evolutionary processes.
And then there's this Illinois drying barn, where beauty is in the efficiency of the construction of this shed... and in the efficiency of the wind turbines in the background.