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  1. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Separation of artist and their art

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by jazzabel, Mar 12, 2014.

    If an artist is a criminal, or a really despicable person, is it possible to separate, and still enjoy their art? Even if supporting them translated into accumulating money and power for them and ongoing humiliation for their victims?

    Possible? Impossible? If it's possible, is it ethical?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think artists are required to be saints for their works to be appreciated. I can despise an artist as a person if I think they deserve it, but that doesn't mean I have to despise the art. Roman Polanski may be a child rapist, but that doesn't mean Chinatown isn't a great film.

    Maybe an artist is despicable, but to use that fact to deny that his works are good is to remove from consideration the best he has to offer the world and leave only the worst.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    So many answers depending on how you look at it.

    As artists ourselves here in this forum, painting with words, I am sure that there are many amongst us who would not want our artistic work to be judged through a filter of our foibles and transgressions in life. I had a brief but all too close brush with the law in my mid 20's, which, had the brush been but a centimeter closer, would have had me pay very dearly indeed. I learned from that. It actually inspired the theme of a lot of my work concerning redemption and forgiving oneself so that you can move on and be productive and giving to the world around you, which sometimes is the only way to repay what you took.

    And what of artists whose thing that we despise is the very trial-by-fire, the shaping trauma, that made them artists?
     
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  4. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Is it possible that the artist can separate themselves from the art? If we are really pouring our heart and soul into the medium, wouldn't it be present in the finished work?
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with both of you. But my ulterior motive for asking this is movie Blue Jasmine. Woody Allen was one of my all time favourite directors and I know all his films really well. I believe his stepdaughter Dylan, and I can imagine how she feels, watching her abuser be so adored and respected not to mention rich and powerful. If I was her, I'd feel devastated. I'm not saying that his work isn't genius, that can't be denied no matter what he's done. But even though my film-buff soul is crying out to watch it, I'm no longer able to separate him from his art.

    But no matter what I decide, I don't feel good about it, mainly because for me, personal transgressions forever tainted the work. Somethung like in Jimmy Saville's case.

    @minstrel : With Polanski, I have easier time rationalising. His pregnant wife was just murdered by the Manson family and he committed the awful crime only once (to our knowledge). Also @Wreybies I'm not at all hung up on the issue of criminality per se, but on despicable behaviour some of which may be criminal. Like paedophiles, sex offenders, serial killers, hate speech promoting, gay bashing, racist, that kind of thing. I know all of it isn't criminal, but it's all despicable to me.
     
  6. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    There are two very obvious people that prove it can be done, Woody Allen and Roman Polanski. Both are pedophiles and still are viewed as artistic geniuses.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Also Arthur C. Clarke, whose work is seminal in the world of Science Fiction, was very probably, as evidenced by his own statements, what most would consider a pedophile.
     
  8. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I can't remember the name of the photographer, but there was a guy when I was much younger who had an exhibit that was being picketed at the Cincinnati Museum of Modern Art because it was of kids. Robert Maplethorpe?
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    He did have a a couple of pieces that did portray children in the nude, though the pieces themselves were not lewd in and of themselves, but when taken together with the rest of his body of art, which did include many graphically homosexual themes and also other controversial themes, such as his Piss Christ, people went apeshizzle.
     
  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    If you do a Yahoo search of Robert Maplethorpe, the AP picture is of Jude Law...
     
  11. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    The serial killer may be justified though, depending on who he/she killed. Were they just sociopaths, or out for revenge? If it's the latter, why? If they have good reason, I don't care.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The "AP picture"? 'Splain me, Lucy.
     
  13. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    In U.S. there are laws that criminals can't make money from in prison on their work. All the money is supposed to go to the families of their victims or a victims fund. This came about because of the sales of John Wayne Gacy paintings, book and movie sales, Charles Manson poems and songs, and other similar items.
     
  14. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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  15. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I DJed a 70s glam rock night about a year ago and agonised over playing gary glitter's music because as despicable as he is he still had some great tunes so I decided against. Low and behold, I must have got 10 requests so I played one and everybody danced and sang. Weird!
     
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  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There's a photographer named Will McBride (American-born, but lives in Germany) who's been in hot water before because he's taken a lot of nude pictures of kids. He had a book called Show Me! back in the 1970s that was intended to help kids understand their bodies. It got rave reviews when it first came out (my parents even had a copy!), but it attracted a huge backlash because some people called it child porn.

    McBride might be the guy you're thinking of.
     
  17. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Nah, it was actually Mapplethorpe. Here is an article about the incident 10 years after.

    http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2000/05/21/loc_mapplethorpe_battle.html
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It's possible, it's never comfortable though. This is a weird one for me because I can listen to Phil Spector's music, and he killed a girl, but I can't listen to Chris Brown after he beat the living hell out of a 19 year old Rihanna.
     
  19. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately, Dexter-type serial killers are most likely a fantasy, but yes, I too would and do assess these things on case by case basis. I was referring more to those artists we know are despicable to us. What then?

    @Lemex : Luckily, I never liked either so I'm off the hook for that ethical dilemma :) But yeah, what about that monster from 'Lost Prophets' or what was the name of that band?

    @Wreybies : AC Clark broke my heart, I idolised that guy before I found out.
     
  20. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    I don't follow many artists who are also criminals (not that I'm aware of, at least) so it's not easy for me to say.
    The musician Burzum has done sixteen years in prison for murder and arson, but I love is music nonetheless.

    That's the only example I can come up with, but I thin that great art is great art even if the artist is flawed.

    Edit: Not to mention that almost every musician I listen to has done time at least once in his life, but we are not talking serious crimes here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
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  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Oh, god. Ian Watkins wasn't it? I used to love that band in high school, but since then I've grown very far away. Looking at that trial I just can't listen to any of those songs again. The last time I tried my brain just started screaming, and ordered me to get that man's voice away from me. Chris Brown I couldn't call 'evil', despite the horrible thing he did, but Ian Watkins I can.
     
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  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    of course it's possible... i don't see it as ethical... and i wouldn't do it, no matter how spectacular the cretin's art work may be...

    i also can't stand to see woody allen, wish his films would all bomb...
     
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  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have to agree. It was a little crushing to know this when his The City and the Stars is pretty much my all-time, can only have one thing on a desert island, favorite novel. :(
     
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  24. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mine was Mysterious World. I slept with that book by my bed for years as a kid, it pretty much set my interests and way of thinking. And his short stories.
     
  25. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    A good book or piece of music is good regardless of its creator's personal life. It has a life of its own, just like a child.

    I truly don't care or feel any angst about the creator's supposed sins.
     
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