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Can you enjoy art despite the artist?

DedachanDedachan Posts: 1,644Registered Users
If an artist has done something terrible in real life, such as commit a crime, or is just generally known for making idiotic or controversial remarks, can you still appreciate the work he/she has done? Or does their behaviour taint their body of work for you?

Comments

  • yossarianyossarian Posts: 967Registered Users
    Dedachan wrote: »
    If an artist has done something terrible in real life, such as commit a crime, or is just generally known for making idiotic or controversial remarks, can you still appreciate the work he/she has done? Or does their behaviour taint their body of work for you?

    To me, anything a person produces is the embodiment of their character. If s/he has willfully and repeatedly commits acts (including statements) that are deeply injurious to others, then I cannot in good conscience support their work.

    I used to love Ted Nugent's music, but as he became increasingly strident and offensive, I simply could no longer justify differentiating between the artist and the person.

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  • The New BlackThe New Black Posts: 16,742Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    It depends on how bad their behavior was and how much I like their work. Im thinking of examples:

    Pedophilia - Polanski
    Racism/inciting violence - Ted Nugent
    Infidelity - Picasso
    Addiction/general jerkiness - RD Jr

    I dislike all the above though. I don't think I could ignore the first two indiscretions. The second two, maybe.
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  • CanItBeChristineCanItBeChristine Posts: 6,343Registered Users
    I don't know. I still really love Woody Allen's work and still pay to see whatever his newest movie is. He's been a huge influence on me.
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 11,983Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    It's a really good question. If an artist has done something that I consider unforgivable, it does taint the work for me.
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  • yossarianyossarian Posts: 967Registered Users
    It depends on how bad their behavior was and how much I like their work. Im thinking of examples:

    Pedophilia - Polanski
    Racism/inciting violence - Ted Nugent
    Infidelity - Picasso
    Addiction/general jerkiness - RD Jr

    I dislike all the above though. I don't think I could ignore the first two indiscretions. The second two, maybe.

    The key distinction is the extent of harm inflicted on an innocent victim. The first is unforgiveable, the second may not be criminal but is sufficient basis for a public sanction. The last two are pretty tame for me. If we refused to patronize anything produced by an unfaithful person, we'd never listen to another CD or attend another movie!

    I find Polanski's ongoing popularity reprehensible, especially since he continually flouts his ability to evade justice.
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  • LadyV69LadyV69 Posts: 3,397Registered Users
    yossarian wrote: »
    It depends on how bad their behavior was and how much I like their work. Im thinking of examples:

    Pedophilia - Polanski
    Racism/inciting violence - Ted Nugent
    Infidelity - Picasso
    Addiction/general jerkiness - RD Jr

    I dislike all the above though. I don't think I could ignore the first two indiscretions. The second two, maybe.

    The key distinction is the extent of harm inflicted on an innocent victim. The first is unforgiveable, the second may not be criminal but is sufficient basis for a public sanction. The last two are pretty tame for me. If we refused to patronize anything produced by an unfaithful person, we'd never listen to another CD or attend another movie!

    I find Polanski's ongoing popularity reprehensible, especially since he continually flouts his ability to evade justice.

    I'm inclined to agree with you. The more offensive or harmful the behavior, the less support I'm likely to give to someone. R. Kelly's statutory rape charges? Haven't bought anything by him in years. I don't take people doing harm to children lightly. Fantasia seeing and getting pregnant by a guy that's still legally married? They're not great decisions, but they haven't caused me to stop listening to her music.
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  • jeepcurlygurljeepcurlygurl Posts: 19,777Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Curl Virtuoso
    There are instances where I will dislike someone so much that I no longer pay attention to them at all, but most of the time I can separate the art from the artist.
    There are many singers, actors, writers that I dislike but I still love their music, movies, books.
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  • JosephineJosephine Posts: 14,177Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    There are instances where I will dislike someone so much that I no longer pay attention to them at all, but most of the time I can separate the art from the artist.
    There are many singers, actors, writers that I dislike but I still love their music, movies, books.

    Same here
  • yossarianyossarian Posts: 967Registered Users
    LadyV69 wrote: »
    I'm inclined to agree with you. The more offensive or harmful the behavior, the less support I'm likely to give to someone. R. Kelly's statutory rape charges? Haven't bought anything by him in years.

    Excellent example that brings to mind Chris Brown, who is now persona non grata for me. (And I'm peeved at Rihanna for putting up with the schmuck. This sends a terrible message to young women who are being abused by their boyfriend/husband.)
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  • redcelticcurlsredcelticcurls Posts: 17,502Registered Users
    It depends. I won't watch anything by Allen or Polanski because they're gross.

    I won't buy any music with Chris Brown. I'm not giving him a pass the way many, including Rhianna, it seems, want to give him.

    Tom Cruise gives me the creeps, but I still see his movies.
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  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    yossarian wrote: »
    It depends on how bad their behavior was and how much I like their work. Im thinking of examples:

    Pedophilia - Polanski
    Racism/inciting violence - Ted Nugent
    Infidelity - Picasso
    Addiction/general jerkiness - RD Jr

    I dislike all the above though. I don't think I could ignore the first two indiscretions. The second two, maybe.

    The key distinction is the extent of harm inflicted on an innocent victim. The first is unforgiveable, the second may not be criminal but is sufficient basis for a public sanction. The last two are pretty tame for me. If we refused to patronize anything produced by an unfaithful person, we'd never listen to another CD or attend another movie!

    I find Polanski's ongoing popularity reprehensible, especially since he continually flouts his ability to evade justice.

    I agree with these. I look at it as personal decisions I hope I wouldn't make but can't ever know someone's situation to know where they come from versus absolutely morally reprehensible things which sicken me. I suspect there are plenty of artists who have done things which would make me refuse to listen to their work/read their books/etc., but about whom I don't know anything. I tend to not get too interested in the lives of public figures I don't know.

    yossarian wrote: »
    Excellent example that brings to mind Chris Brown, who is now persona non grata for me. (And I'm peeved at Rihanna for putting up with the schmuck. This sends a terrible message to young women who are being abused by their boyfriend/husband.)

    This was the first one which jumped to mine. I absolutely will not listen to/watch anything I know he'll be on. My opinion of Rihanna has changed and I can't enjoy anything by her now. I do understand that it's emotionally difficult to get away from an abuser and so don't blame her, but on an emotional level I am still now repulsed by her music because of the example she's setting for the girls of our world.


    Tom Cruise is the other one who comes to mind. He's just such a weirdo. There are so many bizarro stories out there I have no idea which if any are true, but I just think he's... off. And I haven't seen anything of his since the couch jumping episode out of not wanting to see anything he's made, but not because he made it. I suspect that suspension of disbelief will be harder next time I see one of his movies because he's become such a personality beyond his characters. This kind of amuses me given I don't have that problem when I watch my college roommate, but she's a FAR better actor than Tom Cruise ever was.
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  • Fifi.GFifi.G Posts: 15,490Registered Users
    I am typically good at separating art from the artist. When it comes to stupid comments-petty crime, I do not hold artists/celebrities to a different standard. They have ample flaws, just like everyone else. I do not know them. I don't always know what they have been through, are going through, what they were thinking, etc. I only know public and media speculation, unless something official is said. If/when I reach the point of annoyed, I stop listening to/reading their interviews. The cut off level is different for everyone. If they end up playing a character in something I am interested in, I will watch that character with no problems. Also, some of the most beautiful works of art (be it song, on canvas, or in a movie) were created under the influence. It (sadly) goes hand and hand with the whole tortured soul thing, and that is what many artists are. The ones who are lucky enough to obtain sobriety end up with additional experience, and raw material.

    When it comes to more hefty criminal or wrong acts, I always check facts (especially anything newer because responsible journalism rarely exists) and weigh my feelings on it. I find Woody to be very strange, but still enjoy his work. I have never been a fan of Ted but I can handle Cat Scratch Fever being played at a gathering because the song simply holds fond memories to someone else. And I have watched 2 of Polanski's movies for reasons far above and beyond him alone.

    I prefer to look at things individually, rather than group all into tainted/wrong.
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  • Fifi.GFifi.G Posts: 15,490Registered Users
    Tom Cruise gives me the creeps, but I still see his movies.

    I absolutely had Tom in mind. I find him creepy as well, but can watch Legend, Magnolia, and Vanilla Sky all day.
    When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

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  • DedachanDedachan Posts: 1,644Registered Users
    I still enjoy Woody Allen's work and I still love the movie Chinatown, by Polanski.

    In fact, I've been listening to Gary Glitter on my gym ipod and he's been accused of pedophilia. Sometimes the lyrics can sound creepy in retrospect, but I still dig the music.

    It doesn't mean I condone the things they are infamous for. I just dissociate their private lives from the work.

    A different scenario for me is Leni Riefenstahl's work. Great photography, but her films were pure Nazi propaganda. I cannot dissociate the work from the artist here because it's the very content of her work and I never bought the angle that she was naïve and didn't know what she was doing.
  • CanItBeChristineCanItBeChristine Posts: 6,343Registered Users
    Dedachan wrote: »

    A different scenario for me is Leni Riefenstahl's work. Great photography, but her films were pure Nazi propaganda. I cannot dissociate the work from the artist here because it's the very content of her work and I never bought the angle that she was naïve and didn't know what she was doing.

    My friend just wrote a musical about her that was staged! I had to miss it, but I was very interested when she told me about it. In all my Holocaust studying, I didn't know much about her.
  • theliothelio Posts: 5,374Registered Users
    I have to say it depends on how much i like the art. i have been a fan of polansky before knowing about the pedephile charge. i have never been a fan of woody allen because i thought he was obnoxious. he always portrayed himself in his own movies as this love god and it was just unbelievable to me. i never enjoyed his movies. what chris brown did to rhianna is between the two of them and none of my business. if she forgave him, why should i care. i have never been a fan before and not a fan now. before i make judgements on the artist, i try to get the facts. if there are victims, if the victims have moved on and the artist has shown remorse and have not been a repeat offender i can easily still enjoy the art. if this is not the case i would have more trouble doing so. if its a victimless crime adn the person is just rude or a jerk or just a mean person, 9 times out of 10 this will reflect in their work and i wont like it anyway. if i have always been a fan, i would be heart broken, but would still enjoy their art, but would be more willing to do my own research and make my own decision to believe them and continue to be a fan and support them. as for forgiving them, they did nothing to me so i have nothing to forgive. they need forgivness form those they harmed, not me.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
    There are instances where I will dislike someone so much that I no longer pay attention to them at all, but most of the time I can separate the art from the artist.
    There are many singers, actors, writers that I dislike but I still love their music, movies, books.

    ITA.

    I heard Merle Haggard was racist and/or has made racist comments. I hope it isn't true. He has a bunch of songs that I LOVE. There is definitely African-American influence on country music and there are so many AA country music fans out there.
  • moodydovemoodydove Posts: 1,721Registered Users
    Sometimes. Examples would be Richard Wagner and Percy Grainger- both disgustingly prejudiced people who produced brilliant work.

    Others...eh, I never really liked Chris Brown except for one song. Now I don't even care to listen to that and I'll never give a dime to him.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Infidelity isnt a problem, but pedophilia is...Michael Jackson should rot in hell and his music make no more money. Same for Woody Allen and Polanski.
  • redcelticcurlsredcelticcurls Posts: 17,502Registered Users
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  • yossarianyossarian Posts: 967Registered Users
    Dedachan wrote: »
    A different scenario for me is Leni Riefenstahl's work. Great photography, but her films were pure Nazi propaganda. I cannot dissociate the work from the artist here because it's the very content of her work and I never bought the angle that she was naïve and didn't know what she was doing.

    Riefenstahl definitely knew what Hitler and the Nazis were about. Mein Kampf was first published in 1925 and was required reading after his 1933 election. His speeches made no secret of his master plan for the "master race".

    But IIRC (and I might not - it's been many years since I saw the film) while Triumph of the Will was heavy on the Nuremberg rally's militaristic themes of power and strength, the film never actually depicted violence. No question, it was extremely effective in manipulating German feelings of resentment and vengeance, but to what extent is she responsible for the actions her work helped inspired others to commit? Would they have behaved differently in the absence of people like Riefenstahl and Goebbels? Intriguing question.

    Wagner is definitely a controversial case. His music is for all intents and purposes banned in Israel because of his vicious anti-Semitism, but many prominent Israeli musicians have argued that his artistic genius should be regarded as distinct from his beliefs. As you can imagine, this is a sensitive issue for the many Holocaust survivors living in that country.

    (While we're at it, we can add writers H.L. Mencken and T.S. Eliot to the list of highly-regarded intellectuals who were also well-known for their anti-semitism.)

    What about Elia Kazan, director of Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront etc, who "named names" to HUAC (the House equivalent of the McCarthy hearings)? On one hand, the people he identified WERE communist sympathizers, many of them operating in secret, but their careers were destroyed as a result of their personal beliefs, which contradicts our notions of liberty. Should we still watch these classic movies? Should he receive awards recognizing his cinematic achievements and contributions?

    I disagree that what happened netween Chris Brown and Rihanna is a private matter. Cheating is one thing, brutal violence are another. They are very public celebrities, who enjoy all the perquisites of fame, and as such they serve as role models for their fans.

    Definitely a thought-provoking question, Dedachan. Thank you for asking it!
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  • Fifi.GFifi.G Posts: 15,490Registered Users
    Splendor in the Grass is one of my favorite movies. I love several of Kazan's films and when I watch them, the last thing I am thinking about is the Hollywood ?witch hunt? Blacklist.

    I do remember when Kazan won an Honorary Academy Award in the 90's. The audience was divided. Many celebrated his work, which they believed deserved recognition, and many refused to stand or clap.

    In the early-mid 90's I took a few different variations of Movies as Literature classes. I adored watching films, writing papers, and often covering controversy in a director or actors life. Several of the movies selected were by some of the most controversial or questionable. I never refused to watch. I always enjoyed a chance to share my feelings on the matters.
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