Can we love art made by "bad" people? (working title)

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, www.indiewire.com/2017/10/harvey-weinstein-separate-art-from-artist-film-critics-1201887805/.

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, www.completemusicupdate.com/article/nearly-2000-women-call-out-sexual-harassment-and-abuse-in-the-swedish-music-industry/.

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, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2014/feb/27/most-criminal-artists-picasso-banksy-caravaggio

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 it 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. 

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, www.nytimes.com/2017/11/10/arts/sexual-harassment-art-hollywood.html.

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 the 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 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, www.marieclaire.com/culture/a16105931/roxane-gay-on-predator-legacies/.

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 sources dismiss, but that is important to acknowledge when we decide to separate art from the artist. 

 

Kramer, Miriam. “It's not just Harvey Weinstein: Women experience harassment, assault in many industries.” Mashable, Mashable, 11 Oct. 2017, mashable.com/2017/10/11/sexual-harassment-assault-by-industry-harvey-weinstein/#HX4Kzc9eGqq3.

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 at 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.