Can you enjoy art despite the artist?

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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?
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?
Originally Posted by Dedachan
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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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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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.
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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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.
Originally Posted by The New Black
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.
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.
Originally Posted by The New Black
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.
Originally Posted by yossarian
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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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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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.
Originally Posted by jeepcurlygurl
Same here
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.
Originally Posted by LadyV69
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.)
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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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.
Originally Posted by The New Black
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.
Originally Posted by yossarian
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.


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.)
Originally Posted by yossarian
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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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.
When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

Tom Cruise gives me the creeps, but I still see his movies.
Originally Posted by redcelticcurls
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??

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 na´ve and didn't know what she was doing.

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 na´ve and didn't know what she was doing.
Originally Posted by Dedachan
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.
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.
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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.
Originally Posted by jeepcurlygurl
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.

Last edited by sinistral55; 01-04-2013 at 03:12 PM.
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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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.
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