Back Talk: Questions arise concerning separation of artist from art

Actors wrongly praise for questionable actions

by: HANNAH NELSON/Staff Writer

It seems that in today’s world we are getting a closer look into the personal lives of the many artists that we listen to, watch, and have loved.

Just think about how many times a different actor or musician has been on the news for something about his or her past that the news media has found out about and exploited.  We have learned of many different occurrences that have happened in the lives of numerous artists who have done unlawful actions. These indecent subjects that have surfaced make many people go against anything that has to do with the particular artist in question. This has raised the question of whether an artist should be separated from his or her art.

An example of this issue is the recent events that have surfaced about Hollywood actor Woody Allen. The actor has recently been a target of his stepdaughter, who reported that he had molested her at a young age. Now all of Allen’s work is being questioned for whether it should be promoted and publicized. This included his project “Blue Jasmine,” which at one time was expected to win an Oscar for best actress, but did not.

It is important that the artist is not separated from his or her art that they have done. Movies or forms of music should not be given public attention or be promoted in any way if an artist committed any form of an obscene action. If these movies achieve success or any form of recognition, we are giving credit to a morally unjust person because he or she is a main part of it. This is also continuing a form of support for that artist.

Think about this from a different viewpoint. What if we learned that many employees from a successful company were participating in illicit, unfair trade? Many people would then not have good mind sets about that company and would not support them by buying any of their products. This is the same as what should be happening with the artists. You should not support someone who doesn’t deserve the recognition, backing, or promotion.

Another point on the matter is the fact that the artist and art can never be fully separated. When we watch a movie, we are still going to see that actor, or if we play a song, we will still be able to hear the artist. This is going to make the audience automatically connect the obscure actions of an artist to what they see or hear that artist being represented in. This, in return, gives the art a bad reputation, even if the artist has been separated from it.

That is why we cannot separate an artist from the art they have, do, or participate in.


Art appreciation hindered by personal failings

by: RACHEL MEANS/Staff Writer

The question of whether an artist can be separated from his or her work has suddenly become very prevalent.

It seems that lately there has been a drastic increase in the number of celebrities falling from grace.

From Bill Cosby to Tom Brady, the numbers continue to rise. But should the personal failings of these people affect how we feel about the things they create?

Personally, I don’t think that the bad habits of an artist should have any effect on whether you enjoy their art. To some extent, I think we all know that. Vincent Van Gogh was mad, but no one will argue that makes his paintings any less beautiful.

The same should be true of a modern artist. But because we’re all so much closer to them, or at least we feel that we are, it’s harder for us to remember that. Because we’ve seen these people on our TVs and computers every day, when they do something awful, it feels like a personal betrayal. But I think it’s important that that’s not true. Their mistakes and flaws have nothing to do with us.

We all have a nasty habit of dehumanizing anyone we feel is a bad person. We don’t want to think of them as complex people, because that makes them seem too much like us. No one wants to think that they have anything in common with someone who’s capable of such horrible things. The problem, of course, is that when you dehumanize someone, you make them far more difficult to understand. How can we keep people from doing something if we don’t understand why they do it to begin with?

Sometimes awful people create beautiful things. It’s an unpleasant fact of life. But the fact that the artist is a bad person doesn’t have to mean that the art itself is bad.

Look at Bill Cosby, for instance. What he is accused of doing to those women is awful. We can all agree on that. But the man is funny. He always has been. If you were to say that he was funny before we all found out about the harm he caused, but now that we know the truth he’s not anymore, you would be lying.

Or, how about Orsen Scott Card? He’s a phenomenal writer whose words have touched many. His books mean a lot to a lot of people. He also happens to be a very cruel, bigoted man. Yes, he’s a massive jerk, but “Ender’s Game” is still a good book.

In short, the artist is not their art. You don’t have to like one to appreciate the other. When we can’t look past the creator to see the content, all we wind up doing is depriving ourselves of something that may very well be wonderful.

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