It is 2016 and art is a cornerstone of our culture in a way that is more explicit than ever before. Art is blunt. Art is present. Art is always there. Architecture, fashion, pop art, media, photography, food, poetry and the list literally is endless because we have taken it a duty upon ourselves to manifest art, commercialise art, mass produce art, direct art and most basically: create it.
And it is my very humble but still rather self-entitled opinion that we are investing an excess amount of time concentrating on the creations instead of the creators, which I guess is the point of art and the entire reason we invest so much of ourselves into the process. And I think although the product itself is of course important, as I said that probably is the whole point, we tend to forget who put so much of themselves into the process. Sometimes, the creator and his creation overlap, so we cannot go astray as is present in the urgent art of being a celebrity, for example. This, however, is not what I want to discuss.
What I want us to consider is whether or not the artists itself should be considered when we choose the art we like. Should we separate the creator from his creation or should we look at art in terms of its artist? Woody Allen has recently been charged with child molestation, he is said to have assaulted his adopted daughter who has come forward with a detailed account of what was supposedly done to her. For the case of this topic, we will assume this is completely true. Should this change my opinion of Midnight in Paris? Or Annie Hall? The film is still the same, and the creator is still the same, but what I know of him has changed. If I download his films and enjoy it, am I supporting the work of a child molester? Am I, worse, encouraging him?
It gets more complex when we consider someone whose misconduct was not directed towards others, but instead, inflicted on themselves. Sylvia Plath, for example, was depressed and mentally disturbed. Does supporting her art mean we are accepting it? Encouraging her coping methods? Commercializing depression? Or romanticizing and celebrating misery?
The facts about these people, and there are so many more examples, do not have a say in the art we like. Because Sylvia Plath and Woody Allen have produced good work. And so have rapists, racist and realists. Do I excuse their troublesome experiences and immerse myself in their art? And if I decide to do so, what does that say about me?