• Dogar
    25
    Good afternoon. Over the last few months I've been juggling an argument in my head with the hopes of one day penning a small essay in relation to it. It's quite topical given the Hollywood sexual scandals so prevalent in Western media at this point and time and it pertains to the question of whether or not we should separate the art from the artist. Should the art be tainted by the morally questionable actions of the artist? It is my understanding that is a contentious topic, one that has cropped up time and time again in relation to the works and lives of great philosophers such as Hegel and Schopenhauer, Nazi artists, etc. In my own opinion, I believe the works should indeed stand and be judged apart from their creator, but then the line becomes murky - what if their dubious ideology is an input in the creation, what if the creation encourages such immoral world views, and so on.

    A cursory search throughout my university library and the internet has provided, rather surprisingly, opinion pieces but no philosophical writing on the topic. I'm wondering if anyone here could point me in the direction of philosophers who have dealt with it? I firmly believe the question itself is one belonging to the realms of the aesthetic.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Art it's s manifestation of the artist. There is no way to separate the two. They are forever entangled in content and perspective. Some aspect, part, essence of the artist is in the art.
  • TimeLine
    2.7k
    I believe that propaganda appeals to subjective pleasures that may encompass our imagination but can effect us because we can contrast the symbols with this experience into an objective reality. The symbols can be striking enough to effect change in our objective opinions. But, what is questionable is the suggestion of which comes first; propaganda is influenced by politics and society and not by individual artists or that subjective creativity.

    This is a really good piece.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    I don't understand why people can't separate art from artist. It's fundamentally hypocritical, and indicative of our hero-worship celebrity culture; the heroine falls; we spit on her.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    Perhaps you can think about it under the conception of authorial intent as put forward by Wimsatt and Beardsley.

    According to Wimsatt and Beardsley, a poem does not belong to its author but rather "is detached from the author at birth and goes about the world beyond his power to intend about it or control it. The poem belongs to the public."

    Caravaggio was accused of killing one of his love rivals, and Benvenuto Cellini killed his brother's killer with a knife in an act of revenge. The objects these people are made are treasured and Cellini's autobiography is worth reading.

    Of course it is different when the artist is alive and has not been dead for 500 years. Many people refuse to go to see films by Roman Polanski or Woody Allen. The way #MeToo is going you'll probably need a score card or something to keep track.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    Right, every artist, every philosopher, every politician, puts themselves into their work. The good, the bad, and the ugly. So?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    So, that is art.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    So we agree? We have to separate the art from the artist?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Just as soon as I figure out how to separate your posts from you.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    You know nothing about me personally, so the work is already done.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    You know nothing about me personally, so the work is already done.Noble Dust

    It would be difficult to know anyone who has separated their words from themselves.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    What do you know about me from my words?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Nothing. We've agreed that they are not yours.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    We've agreed that they are not yours.Rich

    Where?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Whatever. Enjoy the thread.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    There is clearly a connection between the artist, his time, his place, his methods, and his works. The artist and his works are not the same thing, however, so we can separate the two. Haydn is long gone, but his works remain.

    Harvey Weinstein, whatever else he probably did do, produced a lot of good movies. So did Woody Allen, whatever it was that he probably did not do. Garrison Keillor, the avuncular Prairie Home Companion, produced hundreds and hundreds hours of perfect radio. So, he could be slightly lecherous every few years. So, he could be grumpy. So, he could be hard to work for. Mother Theresa was hard to work for. Big deal.

    If Leonard DaVinci had murdered Mona Lisa, he might have hanged for it. His hanging (or his getting away with murder) takes nothing away from his work, though it probably will affect his reputation as a man.

    This is, actually, true for all of us, whether we are artists or common laborers. If I perform 8 hours of honest labor for you, you got what you paid for. If the other 16 hours of my day I drink, fuck whores, smoke pot, shoot up heroin, and piss in public, but am ready to work again at 9:00 a.m., what's it to you, Jack?

    This business of "Well, she is a good enough screen writer, but you know, she isn't a real feminist" is confusing categories. "He was a great actor, but he was a communist (or a Nazi, a homosexual, a rapist, heterosexual, a Republican, mass murderer, arch fiend... whatever). "He always sold more than his quota of vacuum cleaners, but you know, he cheated on his wife." So, why should Electrolux care? Maybe he needed to sell a lot of vacuum cleaners to keep both his wife and his mistress happy. Fuck Electrolux. They should be happy he was strongly motivated.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    Haydn is long gone, but his works remain.Bitter Crank

    Exactly.

    Garrison Keillor, the avuncular Prairie Home Companion, produced hundreds and hundreds hours of perfect radio.Bitter Crank

    And even going further than your admissions on his behalf, he produced hundreds and hundreds of hours of perfect radio. Period.

    This is, actually, true for all of us, whether we are artists or common laborers. If I perform 8 hours of honest labor for you, you got what you paid for. If the other 16 hours of my day I drink, fuck whores, smoke pot, shoot up heroin, and piss in public, but am ready to work again at 9:00 a.m., what's it to you, Jack?Bitter Crank

    Again, totally agreed.

    "He always sold more than his quota of vacuum cleaners, but you know, he cheated on his wife." So, why should Electrolux care? Maybe he needed to sell a lot of vacuum cleaners to keep both his wife and his mistress happy. Fuck Electrolux. They should be happy he was strongly motivated.Bitter Crank

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    Whatever else you may be, you are being difficult.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    You think time and space separates. Not me. I said so.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    K, but the question is will you go see the next movie by someone who had sex with a 14 year old? Will you endorse his behavior by viewing his film? Is the support of those who have assaulted, taken advantage of others a feasible moral choice?
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    the question is will you go see the next movie by someone who had sex with a 14 year old?Cavacava

    If the movie is good, yes. If not, no.
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k
    Will you endorse his behavior by viewing his film?Cavacava

    Viewing the film isn't endorsement of behavior; it's a crapshoot to see if the film itself was good or not.
  • foo
    45
    Viewing the film isn't endorsement of behavior; it's a crapshoot to see if the film itself was good or not.Noble Dust

    Indeed, and that's part of the charm of art. The artist makes an object separate from him or herself that has its own life. This object may be wiser and brighter than the artist, made possible by a kind of control an artist may have of a medium which none of us have over life itself. Fame is often envied, but it looks to have a nightmarish aspect.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    but the question is will you go see the next movie by someone who had sex with a 14 year old?Cavacava

    Yes, I would, assuming that the movie was of interest. Am I indifferent to the possible misfortune of the 14 year old? No. And I don't know what all the producers, directors, crew, actors, editors, and everyone else who worked on the film may or may not have done to whom, how, where, and when. A lot of people work on a film. People do good, bad, and indifferent things, and they may not even have done things for which they are reviled.

    Many people (a large percentage of the population, let's say 25%) have done things that when exposed in public are likely to be condemned by one group or another--and viewed as OK by others. There is a long list of things that someone might have done, or be doing now, that will result in their being pilloried. The are tried, convicted, and punished by mob justice, these days conducted on line, like #metoo and TimesUp.

    Take Woody Allen. It isn't as if the charge against him (by Mia Farrow and his adopted daughter) hasn't been investigated and disposed of more than once. There is no evidence that he ever had sex with Dylan. There are no witnesses who think that it even could have happened. (This case isn't new -- it started during a bitter divorce proceeding in 1993. It was recently revived by #metoo.)

    I'm not in favor of these shunning/censoring maneuvers; the casting out of some group's devil de jour. Of course, I understand righteous indignation; it's one of my favorite emotions. But... conviction in the Twitter Court does not require a response from me.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    Is the support of those who have assaulted, taken advantage of others a feasible moral choice?Cavacava

    I would say it is an unavoidable choice. In the real world, people actually take advantage of others all the time: economically, socially, psychologically, politically, intellectually ... any way you can think of. As for assault, it certainly is not proper behavior. But, you know, it happens, both sexual assault and ordinary assault and battery. I'm just not in favor of black listing every person who has done something wrong. BECAUSE, Cavacava, there literally won't be anybody left to do the black listing before long.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    I don't understand why people can't separate art from artist. It's fundamentally hypocritical, and indicative of our hero-worship celebrity culture; the heroine falls; we spit on her.Noble Dust

    I agree entirely, but it works both ways and that's what I find maintains this unfortunate state.

    If I like Wagner's ring cycle, then the fact that he was a Nazi idol should have no influence, but I then start harping on about what a 'genius' Wagner was for writing such a masterpiece, if I start trawling up every scrap of music he ever wrote as if I were panning for gold (as many do), then I am implicitly claiming that there was something about the man himself that was great, not just that he happened to write a piece of music I like.

    This kind of thinking about artists (which is all too common), inevitably leads to erroneous ideas about the links between art and lifestyle. Maybe we need to allow one or two Nazis in society just to make sure we can still benefit from Wagner and Heidegger?

    Good art is just something we like the sound of or look of, nothing more. It should not make villains, because it does not make heroes either.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    In the 'real world' Roman Polanski plead guilty to statutory rape of a 13 year old and then absconded to Europe where he continues to work, shielded from US justice. He won a 2002 Oscar for the Pianist: Best Director and Best Picture, so the Academy apparently did not hold his actions against his work.

    I'm just not in favor of black listing every person who has done something wrong. BECAUSE, Cavacava, there literally won't be anybody left to do the black listing before long.

    I don't disagree, but as you indicated many of the alleged abusers such as Woody Allen, have no pending prosecutions. As far as I am aware Harvey Weinstein has not been criminally charged for anything although he is apparently under criminal investigation. Bill Cosby's retrial is scheduled for April. The actual list is short, but that wasn't really to point to my question.

    As stated, I agree that the work of an artist is separate from the artist. The moral choice, as I see it, is whether of not to support works by such artists by paying to see their works and thereby enabling them to continue to work or to support their victims by boycott works of these people regardless of the status of their work. In the 'real world' #MeToo's targets are being dumped in mass by their support systems.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.6k
    If I like Wagner's ring cycle, then the fact that he was a Nazi sympathiser should have no influencePseudonym

    Wagner died in 1883. It's more like Nazis were Wagnerian sympathizers.
  • Pseudonym
    1.2k
    Wagner died in 1883. It's more like Nazis were Wagnerian sympathizers.Bitter Crank

    Yes, sorry that's what I meant, the Nazi association. I've edited to save face. My father is actually something of a Wagner enthusiast, so more than a little embarrassing. Hope he never reads this.
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