Separating Art from the Artist

Source #1 

Ehrlich, David. “In the Aftermath of Harvey Weinstein, Can We Separate the Art from the Artist? - IndieWire Critics Survey.” IndieWire, 16 Oct. 2017,

In this popular source, many film critics voice their opinions on how they perceive art created by people who have committed wrongful acts. While most of them seem to agree on disagreeing with the artist and respecting those who are affected, other concerns arise as some argue that the artist alone, does not define an entire work of art. Especially for a form of art such as film, it is important to notice and acknowledge that an incredible amount of people have worked collectively on the same project. However, it is generally argued that one should preserve their awareness about the issues around an artist when either, addressing or analyzing the film, not only to look for ways the art is influenced, but also not to dismiss people from knowing the problems that occurred behind the scenes. On the other hand, some express their discomfort with the art, not knowing how to detach their personal values and objection against the artist behind it. In light of recent events, Harvey Weinstein has brought back the confusion that film critics and movie-lovers have to face when their favorite movies are associated with people that go against their values. This article includes different perceptions and reactions on the topic, while still maintaining a respectful and open debate.

Source #2

McFee, Graham. Artistic judgement: a framework for philosophical aesthetics. Springer, 2013.

As part of my podcast, I would like to address the purpose of art in general and understand what plays a role in our judgment of a work. Perhaps, the explanation for why we feel uncomfortable enjoying the art of someone who has done terrible things lies in how we believe that their vision of the world can be detected in their art. As a result, the art becomes tainted as we notice the little things that correspond to their bad behaviour.  In this (scholarly) book, Graham McFee goes over the different ways and reasons we judge art. Besides the aesthetics and meaning that we tend to look for, an interesting element he brought up is the connection we make between art and real-life issues. Moreover, he reflects on how this connection derives from our expectations that art depicts contemporary moral, social, political and emotional issues. This is analyzed in great depth, but I would prefer to use the main concepts in order to be able to link it back to my topic.

Source #3 

Gandhi, Masani, "Blurred Lines- Between The Artist and His Art." 11 Socio-Legal Rev. 67 (2015): 67-84. HeinOnline. January 22, 2018. 

In this scholarly journal article, Manasi Gandhi uncovers different cases of artists whose art was hard to separate from their personal lives. From Wagner to R Kelly, Gandhi applies existing theories and concepts to analyze the cases of each artist but most importantly, he asks questions from his own perspective. He brings to light how just like everything in life, not everything can fit in clear binaries and so, there are many different ways how our judgment of art is biased. Gandhi displays not only awareness to other people’s biases, but also to his own, which made him more trustworthy. Gandhi’s overall argument is that we are political creatures and that it is very difficult for us to draw a line between art and artist. Unfortunately, it is quite a risk to accept and reward art made by bad people. I think this source will be very useful to me because of its relevance to today’s reality, as we have easier access to the lives of the artists we admire and even seek inspiration from them to form our own opinions about issues.

Source #4 

Cooke, Chris. “Nearly 2000 women call out sexual harassment and abuse in the Swedish music industry.” Nearly 2000 women call out sexual harassment and abuse in the Swedish music industry | Complete Music Update, 20 Nov. 2017,

While the topic of sexual assault and abuse has been discussed as a huge issue in the film industry, more specifically in Hollywood, the music industry is also known to have this issue. In this article, we get to know how sexual assault and abuse is also present in the music industry in Sweden, proving that it is not very uncommon in these industries for women to be abused by other people in their workplace. This is important to note because by understanding how these industries and artists even get to produce their work and generate profit through it , we can conclude that their work of art is not completely independent from who they are because of the abusive process that a lot of them follow. With this in mind, I believe that because the process is part of art, we have the right to judge it and not separate from the artist's behaviour. If someone would even try or want to make difference between the art and the artist, it would not be as easy to do so in this case. 

Source #5 

Jones, Jonathan. “The 10 most criminal artists ever.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 Feb. 2014,

This is a very brief but useful article that lists in chronological order a few artists who are also known as criminals. I was looking for a timeline that would show that many artists from different times have also committed wrongful acts. In this article,  I discovered people who I did not know, were criminals as well as artists. This kind of made me think that many people probably forgot about these facts or maybe are simply not aware of them because their works are still valued. Therefore, there is a risk that their bad behaviour or misconduct are dismissed and that some people, who are not aware , enjoy their art not knowing the truth because a lot of other people, chose to dismiss it. 

Source #6

Hess, Amanda. “How the Myth of the Artistic Genius Excuses the Abuse of Women.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Nov. 2017,

This article has probably the most important information regarding the risk of separating art from the artist. A lot of times, this allows the art to excuse a crime. It also goes into details as to how this attitude has strong consequences on women, who are subject to different kinds of abuse in the making of art. The argument made in this article is very crucial because many people are not aware of how in a lot of cases, there is a direct connection between the art and the artist. 

Source #7

Gay, Roxane. “Can I Enjoy the Art but Denounce the Artist?” Marie Claire, Marie Claire, 8 Feb. 2018,

In this article, Roxane Gay, the author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, shares her feelings about separating art from the artist by recalling her experience with how she dealt with the truth behind her favourite TV show, The Cosby Show. We get to know how she was trying to ignore and separate the art from the artist, because the art meant so much to her, but leads us to her new attitude, which is to value the lives of those affected by the artist's act. This source offers us an insight of a person who once was of the opinion to separate art from the artist, and allows us to see the importance of not doing so.  Roxane Gay reminds us that separating art from the artist has allowed many men to get away with their misconduct and that it is incredibly insensitive to women, who keep suffering for the sake of preserving art. Her feminist perspective is one that many art lovers fail to see, but that is important to acknowledge when we decide to separate art from the artist. 

Source #8

Kramer, Miriam. “It's not just Harvey Weinstein: Women experience harassment, assault in many industries.” Mashable, Mashable, 11 Oct. 2017,

In this source, we get different statistics that show us that this issue is not only present in the film industry, but wherever women's workplace is. Therefore, when making the choice to support art made by dangerous people, we need to consider that there's a bigger picture out there. It  is not only about an artist's actions but about a system that enables violence against women. By understanding this inequality, we can conclude that an artist's actions are not entirely personal, but that point to a bigger issue in our society. Separating art from the artist would mean that you dismiss this big issue, that is (or should be) bigger than art. 

Source #9

Prince, Lauren , and Valerie Kipnis. “Sexual assault hotlines are feeling the impact of #metoo.” VICE News, 22 Jan. 2018,

While VICE News has recently been receiving a lot of backlash for their lack of real and important news, this article is not one of them. This popular source shows us the impact the Me Too movement had/has on sexual assault hotlines. Statistics from the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network are included and point at the importance of raising awareness about sexual violence. This relates to my podcast because while we do make the choice between separating art from the artist or not, it is more important to focus on being active about these issues in our society. The conversation that we are all having after Harvey Weinstein's misbehaviour, has far more significance and impact on our society than deciding not to watch movies he had worked on. Focusing on how to help victims and how to stop dismissing harassment in workplaces are things we should focus on instead of the art itself.

Source #10

Khatchatourian, Maane. “Timothée Chalamet Donates Salary From Woody Allen Film to Times Up, Other Charities.” Variety, 16 Jan. 2018,

This article summarizes an example of what we can do collectively and personally, if we choose to support art from an artist who has caused serious harm. In this example, Timothee Chalamet has worked with Woody Allen, a filmmaker alleged of sexually abusing his daughter. What Chalamet proceeded to do with his salary for his upcoming movie, is to donate it all to charities including TIME'S UP, a movement addressing sexual assault in Hollywood. This is relevant to my podcast because it gives us a perfect example of how one can still connect with the art, whether it is acting in the movie or enjoying it, but take responsibility and initiative for the issues surrounding it. 

Source #11

“Brown University.” A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions | Science and Technology Studies,

While this source was found on Brown University's website, it still remains a popular source. However, there is a lot of insight found on this page, which go over all the different ways we make ethical decisions. There are some simple terms that are defined, but that perhaps are explored more deeply. Not only are we reminded of these basic concepts, we also get to compare various popular philosophical theories. This source relates to my topic because the decision making when it comes to separating art from the artist includes ethics and its various perspectives and approaches. More specifically, there is not really a right and wrong way we choose to define our ethics,  simply because of the many factors that surround our ideas of morality. However, we as a society, mostly agree on certain moral duties and responsibilities. Therefore, we can agree that maybe our moral responsibility lies in protecting our society and making sure horrible things that artists have done, don't happen again.

Source #12

Watson, Bruce. “Do boycotts really work?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Jan. 2015,

Here we see how some boycotts are effective and others are ineffective. This source includes some statistics about strong impacts that boycotting has, as well as the different intentions and goals that could lead to ineffectiveness and even create more damage than good. I believe that many people who choose to boycott movies, should be aware of how they do it, what they hope to achieve, and what else can they do instead or in combination of/with boycotting.

Source #13

Puente, Maria, and Cara Kelly. "How Common Is Sexual Misconduct in Hollywood?" USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 23 Feb.2018, 

94% of the 843 women from the entertainment industry that were surveyed by USA Today said they've experienced some kind of sexual assault/harassment in their career. While the media and many individuals are speaking up about their experiences, numbers are useful in order to grasp how this issue is present in many and even most women's lives . This source is therefore very important because it breaks the idea that this issue is only experienced by some women. It also breaks down the different ways women can experience and have experienced sexual assault/harassment. The results of the survey do not represent ALL women, but remain powerful because it shows how "normal" and usual this is in Hollywood. This source would have been a great addition to my episode because it informs people through statistical data and not only concepts and ideas. 

Source #14

Joho, Jess. “How to Be Part of the Solution to Sexual Harassment Problems in Hollywood.” Mashable, Mashable, 10 Jan. 2018,

This popular source addresses what divides and shapes people's opinions on the idea of separating art from the artist. Through this article, we get to focus on the importance of finding ways to support women. This is more helpful than boycotting because it shifts our perspective to solutions that are directly linked to the real issues of separating art from the artist. It provides solutions that can be done by anyone, from either side of the debate. This would be great for my last vignette because it speaks to anyone, who wishes to stop dangerous artists to even be in a powerful position, and not only prevent terrible things from happening, but to encourage women from the industry,  in order to reach equality. The highlights of this article include a list of projects that were led by women as well as a list of organizations that are "fighting the issue from every angle".